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Stevie Johnson had three seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving for the Bills.
The San Francisco 49ers brought in several veteran players this offseason. The most exciting acquisition is wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who played all of his previous six seasons with Buffalo.
He is coming off a down year in 2013, with only 52 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns. A large part of that decline has to do with the Bills' quarterback problems last year.
In the three prior seasons, Johnson eclipsed 1,000 yards each time. Over the 2010-12 seasons, he averaged 79 receptions for 1,041 yards and nearly eight touchdowns per year. He will likely be the third receiver for the 49ers and play a lot in the slot position.
Although Johnson comes to the 49ers as the sexiest new addition, perhaps the most important is safety Antoine Bethea. He replaces Donte Whitner as the strong safety. Like Whitner, Bethea is best against the run and has had problems in the past defending against the pass.
He is a solid tackler who had 80 tackles and 30 assists last year for the Colts. In comparison, Whitner had 58 tackles and 15 assists.
A huge difference in their playing styles is that Whitner was frequently called for penalties due to overaggressive hits or head shots. This should be far less frequent with Bethea. Like Whitner, Bethea is a smart player who will provide valuable input to Eric Reid and rookie Jimmie Ward.
Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd signed a free-agent contract with the 49ers, after sitting out all of last season. He will face stiff competition for playing time with Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Johnson, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin and Bruce Ellington.
Lloyd has looked very good in the 49ers' minicamp and OTAs. As reported by Kevin Lynch on SFGate.com, Lloyd has dominated workouts.
The 49ers added depth to their offensive line when they acquired embattled tackle Jonathan Martin from the Dolphins for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft. He may also see some time at right guard if the holdout by Alex Boone drags on.
Former Minnesota Viking cornerback Chris Cook signed a one-year contract with the 49ers. Expected to compete for a reserve job and contribute on special teams, he may be thrust into a bigger role with the unexpected retirement of Eric Wright.
It now looks like Cook may be the first backup at corner if Tramaine Brock or Chris Culliver goes down with an injury.
Cook had a poor season in 2013, as he was beaten for more scores than any cornerback in the NFL. In 29 NFL career starts, he has yet to make an interception. Defensive backs coach Ed Donatell will have his work cut out for him in order to make Cook a solid NFL cornerback.
Blaine Gabbert is the final addition who is expected to play an important role on the 49ers. He started 27 games over his three-year career in Jacksonville. He replaces Colt McCoy as the backup to Colin Kaepernick.
The ideal scenario for the 49ers is that the only time we see Gabbert is on the sidelines holding a clipboard and wearing a baseball cap. If he gets any meaningful action, it's only because something has happened to Kaepernick and he is unable to play.
The 49ers hope to never need to use Gabbert. However, if he is called upon, he should give them a better chance to win than McCoy, so this was a good addition.