49ers Sign Ex-Titans and Colts WR with ‘Burner’ Speed: Report

Marcus Johnson

Getty Marcus Johnson of the Tennessee Titans dives after a catch.

In the San Francisco 49ers‘ latest free agency roster move, a speedy veteran wide receiver is trading Nashville, Tennessee for Santa Clara, California.

San Francisco has already brought in two receivers this offseason in the presence of ex-Arizona Cardinals WR KeeSean Johnson and former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Ray-Ray McCloud, but they apparently aren’t done.

Now, Marcus Johnson is a 49er. Johnson’s sports agency, EnterSports Management, announced that San Francisco signed the 27-year-old receiver on April 7.

“#TeamESM client Marcus Johnson has agreed to terms with the @49ers!” EnterSports Management Tweeted. “Congrats @Mojomdj! #49ers #FTTB @TexasFootball @NFLPA @TomPelissero @AdamSchefter @MikeGarafolo @RapSheet @FieldYates”

Johnson isn’t a household name by any means, similar to the additions of McCloud and Johnson. However, what the former Texas Longhorns star does possess is speed and NFL experience, and it will be interesting to see how 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan views him and how the team may utilize him should he make the final 53-man roster.

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Johnson’s Journey Through NFL with Colts, Titans

Johnson’s career is an interesting one, primarily because a cursory glance at the 27-year-old’s college stats while a Texas player aren’t exactly impressive. In three seasons in Austin, Texas, Johnson amassed 793 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons played.

Johnson entered the 2016 NFL draft, but was not selected by any teams before the Philadelphia Eagles picked him up as an undrafted free agent. After jumping back and forth between the main roster, the practice squad and being a free agent, he earned his first NFL appearance and catches during the 2017 season that saw Philly win the Super Bowl.

In 2018, Johnson was signed and later released by the Seattle Seahawks before the Indianapolis Colts brought him in. He proceeded to spend three seasons with the Colts, which handed him his first NFL start. Johnson totaled 634 yards and three touchdowns in 37 total appearances, as PFR shows.

In 2021, Johnson flipped the Colts for their AFC South rival in the Tennessee Titans. As a Titan, Johnson started three games and made seven appearances in the regular season. He brought down nine receptions for 160 yards.

Johnson doesn’t have an insane career, but he’s proven at three different NFL teams that his speed and catching ability is at least worth the look.

How Johnson Can Fit with 49ers

Between Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, it may not seem like the 49ers have an immediate need for a speedy receiver, and they don’t. But Aiyuk and Samuel have both dealt with multiple injuries since arriving on the 49ers, and you can never be too safe.

Plus, Johnson has aspects of his NFL career that are worth looking into. As NinersNation analyst Akash Avanarathan pointed out, his speed is in the top percentile.

“Ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash in 2016 — so he’s a burner and a potential speed threat on offense,” Avanarathan Tweeted after Johnson’s signing.

49ers fan and analyst “Coach Yac” also shared a clip of what Johnson can do with the ball in his hands.

Expect Johnson to compete with the likes of McCloud and KeeSean Johnson for a roster spot. It feels unlikely that all three would make it, and it only seems possible that two of those three could make the final 53-man roster.

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