49ers notes: S.F. trades linebacker Johnson to Colts, signs wide receiver Harper

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 11:09 am

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers traded pass-rushing linebacker Cam Johnson, who excelled in the preseason finale, to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year's draft.

The trade created room on the 49ers' 53-man roster for Chris Harper, a rookie wide receiver signed Monday from the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad.

"We appreciate Cam's efforts since joining our team a year ago," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement.

Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2012 who spent his rookie season overcoming injuries, had the NFL game of his life in Thursday's 41-6 rout of San Diego, with two sacks, a blocked punt and the recovery of a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

Despite that performance, Johnson likely would have been inactive on game days.

The 49ers already have Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta at outside linebacker, and Skuta, unlike Johnson, is valuable on special teams.

Harper, 23, a fourth-round pick by the Seahawks, had 58 catches, 857 receiving yards and three touchdowns last year at Kansas State. He had four catches for 39 yards for Seattle in the preseason.

But the 49ers are thought to be looking at Harper, 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, as a tight end/H-back, much as they used Delanie Walker in past seasons.

There are plenty of similarities between them. Both played wide receiver in college and have comparable size and speed. Harper ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash before the draft; Walker ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash entering his rookie season.

Wallace joins Tolzien in Green Bay – The mystery surrounding Seneca Wallace's final day with San Francisco grew clearer Monday when he became the second ex-49ers quarterback in as many days to sign with the Green Bay Packers, who face the 49ers on Sunday.

Wallace is expected to be Green Bay's primary backup to Aaron Rodgers to start the season.

The Packers signed Scott Tolzien, the 49ers' third-string quarterback last year, to their practice squad on Sunday.

In a strange move, Wallace elected not to travel with the 49ers to San Diego for the preseason finale, and coach Jim Harbaugh later said Wallace told him that morning he wanted to retire, which Wallace disputed.

It seems now that Wallace, who starred at Cordova High School and Sacramento City College, knew he would have a much better chance of making another team's roster and didn't want to risk an injury by playing behind the 49ers' third-string offensive line in the fourth quarter.

Wallace and Tolzien, who had been with the 49ers for more than two seasons, obviously have good insight into the 49ers, especially quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

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