49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 2, 2013
Roster maneuvers: 49ers send Cam Johnson to Colts, add WR Harper

The 49ers traded a pass rusher for a receiver this morning, sending preseason finale star Cam Johnson to the Colts for a conditional, seventh-round pick in next year's draft. That made room on the 53-man roster for wide receiver Chris Harper, whom the 49ers plan to sign from the Seahawks practice squad. The Harper transaction was reported by ESPN.com and hasn't been made official yet.

The move gives the 49ers an expected 13 picks in the upcoming draft, including four in the third round and four in the seventh round. One of the third rounders is an expected compensatory pick,

"We appreciate Cam's efforts since joining our team a year ago," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "He has continued to grow as a football player and we wish him all the best with his new opportunity in Indianapolis."

Harper, 23, was a fourth-round pick by the Seahawks this year. At 6-1, 234 pounds, he's a big-bodied player who had 58 catches, 857 receiving yards and three touchdowns last year at Kansas State. During Seattle's preseason, he had four catches for 39 yards with a long of 16.

Harper was taken with the 123rd pick in the draft (fourth round), which is five picks before the 49ers selected receiver Quinton Patton. He'll join a wide-receiving corps of Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Patton, Marlon Moore and Jon Baldwin.

As for Johnson, he was a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft. He spent his rookie season overcoming injuries but started to round into form this year. He had the NFL game of his life in Thursday's preseason, finishing with two sacks, a blocked punt and recovering the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

Despite that game, Johnson likely would have been inactive on game days. The 49ers still have four outside linebackers on the roster, Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta. Unlike Johnson, Skuta is valuable on special teams.

With Johnson gone, the only two members of the 49ers' 2012 draft class that remain are: LaMichael James (second round) and Joe Looney (fourth round).

2014 draft picks:
1. First round - own pick
2. Second round - own pick
3. Third round - pick from Kansas City (Alex Smith). Selection could turn into a second-round pick if the Chiefs finish 8-8 or better.
4. Third round - pick from Tennessee. Titans moved up in second round this year to take WR Justin Hunter.
5. Third round - own pick
6. Fourth round - own pick
7. Fifth round - own pick
8. Sixth round - own pick
9. Seventh round - own pick
10. Seventh round - pick from Carolina (2012 Colin Jones trade)
11. Seventh round - pick from New Orleans (Parys Haralson)*
12. Seventh round - pick from Indianapolis (Cam Johnson)**

*The New Orleans trade is contingent on Haralson making the Saints roster, which he is expected to do. In fact, he could start at outside linebacker.

** The Indianapolis trade also is conditional on Johnson making the roster.

***The 49ers also are expected to be awarded at least one compensatory pick in the 2014 draft, perhaps as high as a third rounder, after losing Goldson, Delanie Walker, Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois and Ted Ginn in free agency. That pick could be as high as a third, which perhaps would give the 49ers six picks in the first 100 selections of the draft.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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