Yardbarker Horiz

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Is Josh Johnson Worth?

With multiple media reports stating the 49ers may be interested in Josh Johnson, could a trade be in the works?  Johnson has completed his rookie contract so would not carry any additional cap penalties, making him very interesting to the right party.  So the question is:  what is the Buccaneers current #2 signal caller worth?

San Francisco has a lot of draft picks to use for bait this season.  Currently the 49ers have 12 picks:  1 in each round, plus an extra in the 4th and 6th rounds, and three extra in the 7th round.  Johnson was originally a 5th round pick by Tampa Bay in the Class of 2008.  Certainly Johnson has proven he is worth more than his original pick, particularly with his expanded role in the Buccaneers two QB set (the "wildcat formation").

How badly does San Francisco need a quarterback?  Currently the 49ers only have David Carr on their roster, the #1 overall pick in 2002.  What makes Josh Johnson so interesting to the 49ers is he and new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are familiar with each other and the offense Harbaugh wishes to utilize due to time spent together at the University of San Diego.

The 49ers currently have the #7 pick this season.  The top two prospects at quarterback, Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Cam Netwon from Auburn, are currently not rating above that position on the draft boards of the more reliable sources, yet mock drafts across the web have both men gone by the time the 49ers pick.  The next two quarterback prospects, Jake Locker of Washington and Christian Ponder of Florida State, should be off the board before the 49ers get their second pick.  This scenario could leave Harbaugh either grasping early for the #3 QB at the seventh pick, or settling for the #5 quarterback in the class (Ryan Mallett of Arkansas).  In the case where the top two quarterbacks are selected before the seventh pick, the trade value for Josh Johnson picks up considerably.

Other positions of need for the 49ers are defensive as the 49ers had one of the statistically poorest squads in the NFL last season.  And if they do not select a quarterback with the seventh overall pick, they will their choice of one of the top two defensive ends or defensive tackles in the class of 2011.

So there are some facts which make a trade between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers reasonable.  However, most reasons do not play out unless the 2011 NFL Draft falls a certain way.  But, for once, it's nice to be the team waiting for the offer instead of being the team making the offer.

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