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Stevie Johnson rumors: Ex-49ers wide receiver drawing interest from Chargers, Patriots

It sounds like Stevie Johnson is drawing interest in free agency. Odds seem pretty good he will not be returning to the 49ers.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Stevie Johnson is starting to draw some interest on the free agent market. The team released him earlier this week, and it appears he has begun visits. Johnson visited with the San Diego Chargers on Friday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He also will be targeted by the New England Patriotsaccording to Dianna Russini. I have heard something similar regarding the Patriots, and I would imagine a visit will happen sooner rather than later.

There have been reports that the 49ers and Johnson could still work something out if the latter did not find a better offer. I think he is likely to find a solid offer, whether it be in San Diego or New England. If healthy, Johnson provides both with a valuable receiving option. The Chargers have also shown interest in Michael Crabtree, and as discussed in that article, they could use a solid receiver. Keenan Allen emerged last season, but their other two leading pass catchers, Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd are 35 and 34, respectively, and entering the final year of their contracts.

Johnson turns 29 this summer. That is not exactly a spring chicken in the NFL, but he still has some tread on those tires. Johnson has dealt with numerous injuries in his career, so he is not exactly a sure thing, but there is still value to be had. The 49ers could get some value from him, but it would appear the team is more likely to look at the fairly deep pool of wide receivers in this year's draft. And that's to say nothing of how Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton might fit into the mix.