49ers trade Cam Johnson to Colts

49ers trade Cam Johnson to Colts
September 2, 2013, 9:15 am
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The trade of Cam Johnson clears a 53-man roster spot, which the 49ers are likely to fill with the expected signing of Chris Harper. (AP)

The 49ers traded backup outside linebacker Cam Johnson to the Indianapolis Colts, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Monday morning.

The Colts announced the acquisition of Johnson from the 49ers for a conditional draft pick. The 49ers also confirmed the trade.

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

Johnson was a seventh-round choice of the 49ers in 2012. He spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before gaining a late-season promotion to the 53-man roster.

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Johnson earned his way on the 49ers' 53-man roster on Thursday night with a dominating performance against the San Diego Chargers in the exhibition finale. Johnson recorded two sacks, blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Coach Jim Harbaugh referred to Johnson's performance as a "shining night."

Last week, the 49ers traded veteran outside linebacker Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints for a seventh-round draft pick. Prior to the Johnson trade, the 49ers had 12 selections in next year's draft, including an expected compensatory selection.

The 49ers feel good about their depth at outside linebacker with Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier as reserves behind starters Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. 

The trade of Johnson is expected to open a roster spot for the signing of wide receiver Chris Harper, who the 49ers are expected to sign off the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. The 49ers had to remove a player off their 53-man roster to create space for Harper, so the 49ers apparently decided to trade Johnson rather than cutting a player and getting nothing in return.