Josh Johnson (QB)

Jets Sign Josh Johnson To Practice Squad

The Jets are set to sign Josh Johnson to their 16-man practice squad, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter).

Johnson‘s second Jets stint came to an end on Tuesday, leaving Mike White as Zach Wilson‘s primary backup. White has yet to attempt a regular season pass, so it only makes sense for the Jets to keep Johnson around. The journeyman QB hasn’t had consistent playing time throughout his career (to put it mildly), but he has played/practiced with nearly half of the NFL. He’s also got an XFL stint under his belt, for what it’s worth.

The 35-year-old has famously been with nearly half the league’s teams. The 2008 fifth-round draft choice last played with Washington in 2018, and those three starts came five years after his previous game action. He will be back in free agency soon.

Johnson, a 2008 fifth-round draft pick, last played with Washington in 2018. He started in three games for D.C., ending a five-year drought of live action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Cut 26 Players, Get To Roster Limit

The Jets let go of 27 players today, reducing their roster to the 53-man limit. The team made the following moves:

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

The Jets added Johnson earlier this month. While the 35-year-old hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2018, there was some optimism that he could compete for a spot as Zach Wilson‘s backup. That ultimately wasn’t the case, and with James Morgan also getting waived, the team will roll with Mike White as the second QB.

Jets To Release QB Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson‘s second Jets stint has come to an end. The journeyman quarterback received word he did not make the team’s 53-man roster and will be released, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets.

The Jets added Johnson during the first week of training camp but are going forward without a veteran backup. Mike White is in line to be Zach Wilson‘s primary backup, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Neither White nor 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan have attempted a regular-season pass, inserting some risk into the Jets’ quarterback situation. Gang Green drafted Wilson second overall, and the rookie’s grip on the QB1 gig was never in question. But the Jets will have no game experience behind the highly touted BYU product.

White has been with the Jets since 2019, heading to the Big Apple after a Cowboys cut. The Cowboys drafted White in the 2018 fifth round out of Western Kentucky. The 26-year-old passer will now be a Wilson injury away from action.

Johnson, 35, has famously been with nearly half the league’s teams. The 2008 fifth-round draft choice last played with Washington in 2018, and those three starts came five years after his previous game action. He will be back in free agency soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Sign Josh Johnson

The Jets have signed veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, per his agent (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Johnson could provide depth behind No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, who finally put pen to paper last week

[RELATED: Jets Sign Zach Wilson]

Johnson, pictured here in one of his many NFL jerseys, has now signed deals with roughly half of the league. The 35-year-old spent November 2020 — May 2021 with the 49ers but didn’t take a snap during his time there. His last live action came with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL and he hasn’t attempted an NFL pass since 2018, when he started in three games for Washington.

Despite the stop-and-go nature of it all, Johnson always seems to be in demand as a backup arm. Neither of New York’s other QB2 candidates — 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan and former UDFA Mike White — have taken a regular-season snap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sean Mannion Auditions For Seahawks, Jets, Giants

After spending the past two years as Kirk Cousins‘ backup with the Vikings, Sean Mannion has been in free agency for the past four-plus months. The veteran reserve may have a new gig soon.

Mannion worked out for both the Seahawks and Jets this week, according to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter links). The Jets have both Mannion and Josh Johnson at their facility Thursday. While in New York, Mannion also stopped through the Giants’ facility for a workout, Caplan tweets.

The Giants let Colt McCoy defect to the Cardinals and signed Mike Glennon. The latter has eight years’ experience but has not provided an especially steady hand as a backup, bouncing to four teams over the past four years.

Although the Jets signed No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson on Thursday afternoon, they have an apparent need for signal-caller depth. Neither of New York’s QB2 candidates — 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan and former UDFA Mike White — has never taken a regular-season snap. While Mannion has spent his career behind largely durable quarterbacks — Jared Goff in Los Angeles, Cousins in Minnesota — he has six years’ experience and is one of the top QBs left on the market.

Mannion has experience with new Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron; the duo worked together with the Rams. Waldron served as the Rams’ passing-game coordinator in 2018, Mannion’s final year with the team. The Vikings moved on from Mannion this offseason and drafted Kellen Mond in the third round. The Seahawks re-signed Geno Smith, who has been Russell Wilson‘s backup since 2019, but may be looking for competition.

Johnson has famously been with 14 teams in his lengthy NFL career, which began in 2008. Now 35, Johnson has a key connection to the current Jets staff. He was most recently with the 49ers, who cut him in June. The Jets hired both 49ers DC Robert Saleh and ex-San Francisco passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur. Johnson’s historic journeyman run included a Jets stopover in 2015. The team cut him after barely a week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Cut Josh Johnson

The 49ers have released quarterback Josh Johnson (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). In a related move, the Niners have added wide receiver Andy Jones to their 90-man offseason roster.

Johnson, who just turned 35, hooked on with the 49ers last November. Previous to that, he was last seen with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL. He could have been on an NFL roster sooner — the Lions offered him a contract, but the XFL stepped in and blocked it.

Over the years, Johnson has signed deals with 13 different teams. That includes multiple stints with the 49ers in 2012, 2014, and 2020. It remains to be seen whether Johnson will pursue another season in the league, but there’s always a market for experienced QBs like him.

Of course, Johnson’s odds of making the final cut weren’t all that great anyway. The 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo installed as their starter with first-round pick Trey Lance waiting in the wings. That leaves Nick Mullens and Josh Rosen to compete for one — or perhaps zero — QB spots on the 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Sign Josh Johnson

The 49ers are set to sign quarterback Josh Johnson, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (on Twitter). Once he clears COVID-19 protocols, Johnson will be added to the club’s practice squad. 

[RELATED: 49ers’ Bourne Tests Negative]

Johnson, 34, was last seen with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL. Before the season even started, the veteran had an offer on the table from the Lions. However, the XFL stepped in and blocked him from that deal. Over the years, Johnson has signed deals with 13 different teams. That includes multiple stints with the 49ers in 2012 and 2014.

Now, he’ll backstop a QB room that has been without starter Jimmy Garoppolo for weeks. On that front, the Niners got some good news — doctors are not currently recommending surgery to fix his ankle injury and the hope is that he can return before the season is through. For the time being, he’ll remain on IR.

Nick Mullens served as the 49ers’ starter on Thursday against the Packers with C.J. Beathard as the QB2. After Mullens forced some bad throws, it’s possible that the depth chart could be reshuffled between now and their next game against the Saints.

XFL Commissioner On Manziel, Kaepernick

The XFL is still weeks away from its relaunch, but Vince McMahon’s second try at professional football has already come under fire for its refusal to allow players to leave for the NFL. In an interview with Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times, commissioner Oliver Luck made it clear that the policy won’t change anytime soon. 

If there’s one thing we learned from watching the Alliance it was that quarterback play is critical,” Luck said. “In the game of football today — whether it’s pro, college or even high school arguably — your quarterback play is determinative. So we made an effort to sign guys, some of whom played in the AAF but the vast majority didn’t.”

The league’s policy already prevented Josh Johnson from joining the Lions back in November. Critics felt that the XFL should have allowed the veteran to go to Detroit, but Luck & Co. held him to his commitment with the Los Angeles Wildcats.

We said, ‘No, we’re keeping him. He ours. He signed a contract. He’s committed to us,’” Luck said. “Once a player signs a contract — once he passes his physical and signs a contract — then he’s under contract with us. We won’t release that player to the NFL until after our season. We need certainty. We can’t just have guys peeling off.”

Luck also disclosed that the Steelers inquired on Landry Jones and Phillip Walker after Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury. The XFL, of course, turned down both requests.

While the XFL protects its own signal callers, they won’t go chasing the two biggest names on the open market. Luck sounded less than enthusiastic about the possibility of Johnny Manziel and Colin Kaepernick joining the fledgling league.

“Johnny has his own history, and we have coaches from the CFL who have seen him close up,” Luck said when asked about Johnny Football. “He was in the draft pool. Coaches and scouts looked at him and didn’t think he was going to help their team. I think the guys we have on our teams are the best 560 that aren’t playing in the National Football League.”

As for Kaepernick, Luck characterized his “salary demands” as being “way out of [the XFL’s] ballpark.” As a result, he was “never really a viable option,” for the league.

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XFL Blocks Lions From Signing Josh Johnson

The XFL blocked the Lions from signing quarterback Josh Johnson, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Johnson, who was assigned to the Los Angeles Wildcats last week, cannot get out of his commitment without the permission of the fledgling league. 

XFL execs, including owner Vince McMahon and CEO Oliver Luck, have spoken about the idea of partnering with the NFL in some capacity to serve as a breeding ground for talent. At the same time, the XFL is understandably protective of its top talents. Johnson, who has been signed by 13 NFL teams over the course of his career, offers the kind of name recognition that can’t be easily replaced.

This isn’t Johnson’s first rodeo in professional football outside of the NFL. He was also a part of the UFL and the short-lived AAF, so he’s encountered similar situations before.

Meanwhile, the Lions will continue to search for quarterback support in the wake of Matthew Stafford‘s injury. Stafford wants to keep playing, but the Lions are reportedly thinking about shutting him down for the year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QBs Josh Johnson, Taylor Heinicke Join XFL

Earlier this morning, the XFL announced a series of quarterback assignments. The league assigned Josh Johnson to the Los Angeles Wildcats, quarterback Taylor Heinicke to the St. Louis Blackhawks, and Chase Litton to the Seattle Dragons.

The move adds another bullet point to Johnson’s absurdly long transaction history in professional football. Since playing for Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego from 2004-2007, Johnson has been signed by 13 different NFL teams and had stints in two other upstart leagues (the UFL and AAF). While he is unlikely to ever be an NFL starter, his long-run of opportunities suggests he has the talent and mindset to be quite successful in a situation like the XFL.

Heinicke and Litton are both noticeably younger than Johnson, but have NFL resumes of their own. Litton has never appeared in an NFL game, but was signed to a reserve/futures contract by the Chiefs and signed to the Jaguars practice squad before he was released in October. Heinicke has bounced between four NFL organizations. He has appeared in seven games and started in Week 16 last season for the Panthers. Heinicke is a career 36 for 58 on passing attempts for 320 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.