Stevie Johnson To Tampa?April 4th, 2014
It’s not a great year to be an expensive wide receiver. Just ask DeSean Jackson or Steve Smith. A highly-touted 2014 draft class of receivers — some say there are 16+ potential starters in the mix — seems to be giving teams confidence to make bold moves/non-moves.
The trade of Mike Williams today certainly could put the Bucs and Bills in that boat.
Williams was a legitimate, young No. 2 receiver. Now he’s been ditched for a sixth-round pick. Yes, the Bucs could be preparing to draft a wide receiver or two, but the Williams trade also has re-ignited talks of the Bills ditching expensive Stevie Johnson, a three-time, 1,000-yard receiver in his prime. He’s 27 and coming off a down year (52 catches, 597 yards in 12 games) at the start of the E.J. Manuel era.
Johnson began 2013 with a back injury and played through various ailments. He dropped some passes and felt the backlash as the team’s No. 1 receiver not performing to his contract. His three strong seasons were 2010-2012.
This week, NFL Network reporter Albert Breer speculated that Johnson could go on the trading block if the Bills draft Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans with their No. 9 overall pick. Joe would think adding Williams would only enhance the likelihood of that possibility.
Per Rotoworld.com, here’s the money due Johnson under his current contract:
2014: $3.65 million (+ $1.75 million roster bonus due in March)
2015: $5.5 million (+ $250,000 roster bonus)
2016: $5.85 million
2017: Free Agent
There is no debate any longer. The Bucs are desperate for wide receiver help — proven talent. And Tampa Bay has a pile of available cash under the salary cap. What’s next for the Bills and Johnson is unclear, but it’s certainly worth monitoring.
Johnson is an excellent receiver who might just be best suited to the No. 2 role behind Vincent Jackson.