Andre Johnson was mentioned in trade rumors at the deadline last season and while that has subsided, one team that could fit a Houston Texans deal is the San Francisco 49ers, as they have 11 draft picks to trade and are not going after DeSean Jackson after his release from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Niners desperately need a receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.
The deal would take some maneuvering since Johnson is on a seven year deal with nearly $70 million that he signed back in 2010, but since he has a decent salary for next year with a base at $6.5 million, it could work. The idea was proposed on ESPN.com by Field Yates in an Insider article and then picked up on by beat writer Bill Williamson, who writes that while there are receiver options in the draft past Jackson like Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and even Sammy Watkins, that adding Johnson would be a superior move to all of them.
Williamson cautions that this deal is very unlikely to go down, as the Texans will probably not want to part ways with Johnson even with his high salary, as he still is a very productive player and one of the best receivers in the NFL. Johnson had an impressive 109 catches last season for 1,407 yards despite the fact that he played with a bad Matt Schaub and a rookie in Case Keenum and that came after he had 112 catches for 1,598 yards the season before. Johnson has played in all 16 games the past two seasons and could be a huge catch for the Niners.
The 49ers could be motivated to make a deal if they can't find a way to trade up for Mike Evans, as Jim Harbaugh is desperate for a legitimate third receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. While the team was still very good and got to the NFC championship game last season, Boldin is getting older in age and Crabtree is still not yet a year removed from recovering from Achilles surgery. The team had the fewest three receiver sets last season and part of that were the injuries to Mario Manningham. The Niners have Vernon Davis as a receiving tight end, but they want more depth at the wide receiver position as well.
Jackson was considered to be a prime option for the 49ers and that was reported on before he was released by the Eagles by multiple websites. The Niners said that they did not have interest in Jackson when he was being shopped and now that he is on the free agent market they are one of a number of teams interested in signing him, including the Oakland Raiders, NY Jets, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks.
Jackson is looking to get paid in the same range he was last season and that knocked the Chiefs and likely the Niners out, as he is looking for $9 million to $10 million for a one year deal. Jackson had one of his best seasons last year, setting highs with 82 catches for over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns before his release from the Eagles amid reports he missed numerous meetings, had a bad work ethic and had connections to gangs back in LA.