SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers opened Day 2 of the draft by acquiring a needed wide receiver, trading for Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick.
Johnson, a San Francisco native, became expendable when the Bills drafted Sammy Watkins fourth overall in the first round Thursday night. The Bills also dealt for receiver Mike Williams earlier this offseason from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Stevie was a great contributor during his career with our organization," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said. "Today's decision was not an easy one to make, especially involving a player like Stevie who leaves everything he has on the field and is an emotional leader in our locker room."
Johnson's speed should fit well as a slot receiver, which is where he made 41 of his 52 receptions last season, including all three of his touchdown receptions. He's spent all six of his previous seasons with the Bills, including a career-best season in 2010 when he had 82 receptions for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Johnson joins a receiving corps with incumbent starters in Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Top reserves include second-year prospect Quinton Patton and possibly Brandon Lloyd, who's coming off a year hiatus. Johnson's performance could raise the Bills' conditional pick to a 2015 third-round selection, ESPN reported.
Crabtree's rookie contract expires after this season, and Boldin is signed through 2015, having agreed to a $12 million pact in March. Boldin had the most receptions of any 49ers receiver in the slot last season, with 40 for 637 yards and one touchdown.
Johnson has three years remaining on his contract, including a $3.65 million base salary. The Bills paid him a $1.75 million roster bonus as part of a $36 million contract he signed in March 2012.
Johnson is coming off a difficult season, having battled multiple injuries and missed four games after his mother passed away. He had 52 receptions for 597 yards and three touchdowns.
Although 2010 was a career-best year statistically, Johnson gained notoriety when he dropped a potential winning touchdown pass in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, after which Johnson posted a Tweet questioning God's role in it.
The 49ers still could look at wide receivers in the draft. They have 10 picks remaining over the next six rounds, having used Thursday night's 30th overall selection on defensive back Jimmie Ward.
Johnson (6-foot-2, 207 pounds) grew up in San Francisco's Hunter's Point neighborhood, as did cornerback Eric Wright. Johnson graduated from Rodriguez High-Fairfield before going on to Chabot College and the University of Kentucky. He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2008.