The San Francisco 49ers made three transactions official Thursday afternoon. The team announced they have released wide receiver Stevie Johnson, signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a 2-year deal, and signed tight end Garrett Celek to a 1-year deal.
Wednesday afternoon, general manager Trent Baalke said Johnson had not yet been released. The team does not announce the moves until the paperwork is formally submitted, and so, now we have word of Johnson's release. The team clears $6,025,000 in cap space with the move.
The Gabbert news first broke Tuesday afternoon. Chris Mortensen is reporting it is a 2-year, $2 million deal. Gabbert is entering his fifth year in the NFL this season. The league minimum for a fifth and sixth year veteran is $745,000 this season, and $760,000 in 2016. That adds up to $1,505,000. That leaves approximately $495,000 in compensation if the deal is exactly $2 million. My guess is there are some roster and workout bonuses, maybe a small signing bonus, and the salaries could very well be more than the league minimum.
However the remaining money is structured, it is a fairly harmless deal. The free agent QB market was pretty weak, and I'm guessing Chip Kelly was the only one who would pay an arm and a leg for Sam Bradford. The draft class is fairly limited as well. I could see the 49ers investing a late day three pick in a project, but otherwise, this is not really a good year to be adding quarterbacks. It makes sense to bring Gabbert back, and hope there is something to build on with OC Geep Chryst and QB coach Steve Logan.
The Celek move was first reported last Friday. Celek was a restricted free agent this year, which meant the team could have tendered him an offer. That would have allowed Celek to see if any other team would be interested in him, and give the 49ers the right to match any offer. Celek has been a solid contributor in the blocking side of things, but dealt with back problems last year. If he is healthy, his return would be valuable for the run game.