Josh Johnson (QB)

Lions Sign QB Josh Johnson

The Lions worked out a pair of quarterbacks this morning, and they’ll be adding one to the roster. Detroit has signed veteran Josh Johnson, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter).

The Lions’ current backup Tom Savage left Thursday’s preseason game after his head hit the turf, necessitating this move. Savage has a history of concussion issues, so there’s a chance he’ll be sidelined for a while. While the Lions are rostering David Fales, the team wanted another healthy quarterback to play behind Matthew Stafford. We learned yesterday that the Lions were auditioning both Johnson and Landry Jones.

The 33-year-old Johnson has spent time with 12 different NFL teams during his career. He made an appearance late last season with the Redskins, appearing in four games with three starts. He completed 52 of his 91 pass attempts for 590 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Johnson recently turned down a contract from the Ravens as he apparently felt he wasn’t going to be anything more than a short-term camp arm. It sounds like the situation is different in Detroit, where Johnson could stick around for the regular season.

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Lions To Workout QBs Josh Johnson, Landry Jones

The Lions are looking for quarterback depth behind Matthew Stafford. The team is bringing in veterans Josh Johnson and Landry Jones for workouts, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As Garafolo points out, current backup Tom Savage left yesterday’s preseason game after his head hit the turf, necessitating this move. Savage has a history of concussion issues, so it’s possible he’ll be sidelined for a while. Former Bears and Dolphins third-stringer David Fales is currently the only healthy quarterback on the roster behind Stafford.

Johnson is a legendary journeyman, already having spent time with 12 different NFL teams in his long and winding career. The 33-year-old turned into one of the best stories of the 2018 NFL season when he was signed off the street by the Redskins late in the season and suddenly thrust into the starting role. He played about as well as could’ve been expected, but has remained unsigned this offseason.

Johnson recently turned down a contract from the Ravens as he apparently felt he wasn’t going to be anything more than a short-term camp arm. Jones, a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Steelers, notably spent a few seasons as Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup. He was always somewhat competent when forced into action, but Pittsburgh eventually decided they wanted to upgrade, cutting him on the eve of the 2018 season. He briefly latched on with the Jaguars but spent most of the year out of the league. He spent a couple of months with the Raiders earlier this offseason before getting released.

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Josh Johnson Turns Down Ravens

It wasn’t meant to be. Quarterback Josh Johnson has turned down a contract offer from the Ravens, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Johnson would have been a logical fit for the Ravens given his history with the club and the team’s need for another arm in camp. However, RGIII will likely return when the season begins, so Johnson didn’t feel it was the right opportunity. Instead, he’ll presumably wait for another camp injury and a better opportunity to make someone’s 53-man cut.

Johnson has toured much of the NFL over the course of his career, but went many years without actually taking a snap. At the age of 33, Johnson is probably tired of the add/drop game and is looking for something stable. This season will mark Johnson’s 12th in professional football.

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Ravens To Work Out QB Josh Johnson

The Ravens are set to work out quarterback Josh Johnson, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Johnson could provide depth in Baltimore following the injury to RGIII

Griffin will miss four to eight weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his right thumb Saturday night and there’s some fear that he could miss regular season time. Johnson, meanwhile, could backstop the QB room behind starter Lamar Jackson and sixth-round Penn State product Trace McSorely.

Last year, Johnson made three starts for the Redskins and finished out three touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 1-2 record. Prior to that, he hadn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2011.

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North Notes: RGIII, Duke, Vikings

Ravens backup QB Robert Griffin III will miss four to eight weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his right thumb Saturday night, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Baltimore is optimistic that RGIII will be ready for Week 1, but if he cannot return on the early side of his recovery timeline, he will miss at least some regular season time. The Ravens will surely sign a free agent signal-caller in short order, as the only other QB on the roster behind starter Lamar Jackson is sixth-round rookie Trace McSorley. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Josh Johnson, who has been on Baltimore’s preseason roster before, makes the most sense (Twitter link).

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Browns RB Duke Johnson suffered a hamstring injury Saturday, and ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that the ailment could force Johnson to miss some time (Twitter link). That will not help the fifth-year back in his quest to get traded out of Cleveland.
  • The way that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin ran his field-goal drill Saturday — having incumbent Chris Boswell and challenger Matthew Wright alternate kicks rather than having Boswell take all of his tries before resetting the drill — is a departure from the way he has done things in the past, which suggests that Pittsburgh really is open to moving on from Boswell. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic still believes it’s more likely than not that Boswell will be kicking for the Steelers in 2019, but the pressure is definitely on.
  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com says that the Vikings have some interest in running back Theo Riddick, who was released by the Lions on Saturday (Twitter link). Minnesota does not have a visit set up at this time, though Riddick will meet with at least one other team in addition to his summit with the Saints.
  • Orlando Scandrick visited with the Vikings last week before signing with the Eagles, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Minnesota did not extend a contract offer to Scandrick. The Vikes have worked out several CBs recently, and when asked whether the club would ultimately sign one, head coach Mike Zimmer said that’s ultimately up to GM Rick Spielman. Zimmer said, “we’re always looking for players. We’ll keep pounding the pavement” (Twitter link via Tomasson).

NFC Rumors: Redskins, Childress, 49ers

One of Eric Weddle‘s many suitors came from the NFC East. The Redskins inquired about the safety, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig, but Weddle preferred the Rams’ proposal. Washington may be a spot for one of the many starter-caliber safeties on this year’s market, with the team having waived D.J. Swearinger and with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s contract having expired.

Here is the latest from Washington, along with other NFC teams, with the legal tampering period less than 48 hours away.

  • The Redskins’ Case Keenum trade frees them up to make more competitive offers to non-quarterbacks in free agency, instead of seeing Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor proposals complicate the team’s plan. However, Washington is still expected to add at this spot this offseason, and Standig notes it won’t be a Josh Johnson reunion — barring a Colt McCoy departure. Another Johnson pact was previously mentioned as a possibility, but that may no longer be in the cards. Washington profiles as a possible quarterback destination in this year’s draft, but in picking at No. 15 and unlikely to trade up, this may be one of the teams that waits for 2020’s higher-profile group of quarterbacks.
  • The rumors of Markus Golden hitting the market look accurate, with AZCardinals.com’s Mike Jurecki tweeting the veteran edge rusher is set for free agency. The Cardinals and Golden engaged in talks earlier this offseason, but nothing of consequence emerged from those discussions. While Golden stands to benefit from the franchise tags handed out to the top-tier pass rushers who could have hit the market, and Jurecki posits a possible Golden reunion with former Cards DC James Bettcher via Giants signing, the former second-round pick has not been productive since the 2016 season. Golden’s ACL tear in 2017 sidetracked his career, halting the momentum he’d created with a 12.5-sack 2016.
  • Brad Childress may be ready to circle back to the Bears. Affiliated with Matt Nagy‘s first Bears staff briefly, Childress then bolted for the Alliance of American Football. But he did not last until the AAF’s opener. However, Childress looks set to rejoin Nagy in Chicago, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweeting the former Vikings HC is expected to serve in an offensive consulting role under Nagy. Childress and Nagy worked together with the Chiefs. Childress also retired after the 2017 season, but that turned out to be quite short-lived.
  • The 49ers still want to bring back Jimmie Ward, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, but it doesn’t appear their interest goes beyond the one-year offer they were dangling for the 2014 first-round pick. Ward was thought to be on the outs in San Francisco, but the team did not receive much consistency from its secondary last season. San Francisco’s staff graded the versatile defensive back as the team’s best secondary cog, Maiocco adds, prior to his season-ending injury in November, Maiocco adds.
  • The contract the 49ers gave kicker Jonathan Brown is a two-year deal, the team announced. San Francisco used its franchise tag on Robbie Gould. Brown was with the Bengals during the past three training camps but has yet to play in a regular-season game.

NFC Notes: Johnson, Redskins, Falcons, Cardinals

One of the best stories of the 2018 NFL season was Josh Johnson. The longtime journeyman quarterback finally got a chance to start his first game since the 2011 season, and immediately sparked the slumping Redskins. The injuries Washington had suffered ultimately proved too severe to overcome, but Johnson still looked pretty good for someone seeing his first live action in seven years who was signed cold off the street. Now, it looks like Johnson could be back with Washington next year.

The team is working on bringing Johnson back, Redskins team president Bruce Allen told JP Finlay of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Word came out recently that the Redskins were expecting Alex Smith to miss the entire 2019 season, so it’s not surprising they’d want to have as many bodies at quarterback as possible. With only Colt McCoy on the roster, it’s not inconceivable that Johnson could have a chance to be Washington’s starter next year.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff again reiterated the team’s desire to lockup defensive tackle Grady Jarrett with a longterm deal this week at the Super Bowl, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’ve had a number of conversations. We still have a ways to go but we are confident he’s going to be here for years to come”, Dimitroff said. Jarrett is set to be a free agent this March, but it looks like he won’t ever hit the open market.
  • Speaking of the Falcons, don’t expect them to be big spenders in free agency. Dimitroff said he doesn’t anticipate being that aggressive in pursuing guys from other teams, declaring “I don’t think necessarily we need to make a whole bunch of bold moves.” While he acknowledged that the team has some “regrouping to do” after their disappointing season, he expressed confidence in the group of players currently in the building, and said he doesn’t foresee himself “dropping a ton of money in free agency.”
  • New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t just retaining one member of last year’s coaching staff, he’s promoting him. Kingsbury will promote Chris Achuff, who was an assistant defensive line coach on Steve Wilks’ staff last year, to be his defensive line coach, a source told Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Achuff had been with Baylor for nine years before joining the Cardinals, so perhaps he had some familiarity with Kingsbury from their Big 12 days.

Josh Johnson Will Start For Redskins Moving Forward

The Redskins are making a quarterback change. The Mark Sanchez-era is over just after it got started, as the team will start Josh Johnson moving forward, coach Jay Gruden announced after the game (link via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk).

Sanchez played awfully and put up zero points by the time he was benched, tossing two interceptions. Johnson came into the game and immediately provided a spark, leading two scoring drives and putting 16 points on the board to make the loss slightly less lopsided. Redskins players immediately responded to and rallied around Johnson, so the permanent switch to him isn’t a surprise.

Incredibly, Johnson hadn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2011 when he was suddenly thrust into the game. Johnson was only signed off the street less than two weeks ago after Colt McCoy‘s season ending injury, so his play was impressive. Johnson, who had been all set to join the San Diego Fleet of the upstart AAF league before getting the call from the Redskins, completed 11 of 16 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown and an interception, good for 12.2 yards per attempt.

Sanchez was six of 14 for 38 yards and two interceptions, including a pick-six, before exiting. He also struggled mightily last week when he came on in relief of McCoy on Monday Night Football. The Redskins’ season is quickly circling the drain after a surprising 6-3 start as they’ve been crippled by injuries. While still technically alive in the NFC East race, their playoff hopes have rapidly diminished, but perhaps inserting Johnson into the lineup can create some momentum and help them finish strong.

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Redskins To Sign QB Josh Johnson

The Redskins reached agreement on a deal with quarterback Josh Johnson, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Johnson auditioned alongside several other QBs on Tuesday and emerged as the best option of the bunch. 

Johsnon now becomes the Redskins’ second healthy quarterback, joining Mark Sanchez. After losing both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to injury, the Redskins are hoping to get by, somehow, with a duo of journeymen.

Johnson, 29, was quickly chosen over E.J. ManuelT.J. Yates, Landry Jones, and Ryan Mallett, but the Redskins had some hurdles to clear first. Johnson was the first pick of the AAF’s San Diego franchise just last week, but AAF co-founder Bill Polian confirmed that Johnson will be released from his deal so that he can sign with Washington.

Sanchez struggled against the Eagles last week, but he’ll start this week against the Giants as the Redskins fight to keep their playoff hopes alive. Johnson, who has history with coach Jay Gruden thanks to their time in Tampa and Cincinnati, might have an opportunity to get in the game if Sanchez falters again.

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Redskins Hope To Sign QB Josh Johnson

Following season-ending injuries to starting quarterback Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy, the Redskins are naturally seeking some help behind Mark Sanchez. We learned earlier today that the team was set to audition a handful of signal-callers, and now there are two more names to add to the list. JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington reports (via Twitter) that Washington will work out quarterbacks Landry Jones and Ryan Mallett today.

However, it sounds like the organization already has their eye on one quarterback in particular: Josh Johnson. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Redskins are hoping to sign the veteran. There are some hurdles that both sides need to overcome, including Johnson’s status as the recent number-one overall pick of the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football.

The 32-year-old Johnson has bounced around the NFL and UFL since being selected by the Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. The veteran’s last NFL action came in 2013, when he ran for 20 yards on seven carries in two games with the Bengals (he didn’t attempt a pass during his time in Cincy). His last extended look came back in 2011 during his final year in Tampa, when he completed 19 of his 36 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions (to go along with 67 rushing yards).

Working in Johnson’s favor is his relative familiarity with the Redskins’ system. Head coach Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator during Johnson’s stint in Cincinnati, and Gruden was also an offensive assistant with the Buccaneers during the quarterback’s rookie campaign. Johnson is obviously a different game manager than both Smith and McCoy, but the Redskins may be enticed by the free agent’s presumed ability to quickly learn the playbook.

Mallett had spent the past three seasons in Baltimore as Joe Flacco‘s backup, but he’s yet to find a new gig since hitting free agency. Meanwhile, Jones had a brief stint with the Jaguars this season, although he didn’t end up seeing the field for Jacksonville. The team is also reportedly set to audition E.J. ManuelT.J. Yates, and others.

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