Report: 49ers to release WR Stevie Johnson

The San Francisco 49ers are prepared to release receiver Stevie Johnson in an effort to create more salary-cap room before the start of the new league year on March 10, according to numerous reports.

Cutting Johnson would save the 49ers $6.025 million in cap space, according to overthecap.com.

The Niners were a mere $272,258 under the expected cap of $143 million as of Thursday afternoon, per ESPN Stats & Info. Earlier in the month, they were $6.6 million over an expected cap of $140 million.

Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills for a conditional fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, has a contract cash value of $6.025 million this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The seven-year veteran caught 35 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns on 50 targets in 13 games last season, his lowest output since his second year in the league. Johnson’s big game as a Niner was a nine-catch, 103-yard outing in a Week 3 loss at the Arizona Cardinals.

NBC4 Washington first reported Johnson’s pending release.

And if Johnson is indeed cut, receiver becomes even more a position of need for the Niners, who are primed to lose Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd and special-teams ace Kassim Osgood in free agency, with Anquan Boldin and Trindon Holliday entering the final years of their respective contracts.