A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers made a trade on day two the 2014 NFL Draft, acquiring wide receiver Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills. They sent over a fourth round pick, that could improve to a third based on Johnson meeting certain conditions. There was never any word on what kind of performance incentives that entailed, but today it would appear they were not met.
The NFL emailed out a full revised draft order Wednesday afternoon, reflecting an adjustment to some of the comp picks. The order was submitted by the NFL Management Council. The council serves as the official labor group of the NFL owners, and handles free agency and draft related work. That would make this as "official" as we are going to get in terms of draft order. It is possible they could re-assess and change the pick to a third, but for now, it is a fourth.
The odds of it changing to a third after this past season were pretty slim. Johnson was effective when he played, but he did not see nearly enough snaps to have a bigger impact over the course of the season. He was listed with a knee injury late in the season, but said it had been a problem since the Denver Broncos game. If he was dealing with an injury for half the season, it is no surprise he saw a relatively limited amount of snaps as the season advanced.
Hindsight makes it easy to ask, "what was Baalke thinking with that trade?" He dealt with some injuries in 2013, but had played 16 games each of the previous three seasons. I don't think you go into this trade assuming bad things will happen. The 49ers offense had plenty of problems due to the offensive line injuries, but had they not gone through those injuries, maybe Johnson ends up being the kind of game-changer the team needed.
It is certainly possible he would not have been an impact player, but looking at strictly the process, would you still view this as a bad trade? He, Boldin and Crabtree are similar receivers, so that is one argument for not making the deal in the first place. But as we look to potential future trades for a player like Johnson (completely hypothetical obviously), is it a good idea or bad idea to make this kind of move in the future? Can we separate out what happened with what we knew at the time the deal was made?