The Baltimore Ravens brought back a familiar face to their roster on Monday, May 22, 2023, when they announced the signing of veteran journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson who previously spent time with the organization in 2016 and 2021.
The 37-year-old originally entered the league as a fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has played for nearly half of the teams at 14 and counting. He was most recently with the San Fransico 49ers where he appeared in three games including one in the postseason in 2022 and prior to that he spent most of the season on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad.
Johnson has appeared in 39 games and made nine career starts and has also spent time in the AAF (Alliance of American Football) and XFL. His last start in the NFL came as a member of the Ravens in 2021 against Week 15 of the 2021 season and he played more than admirably, finishing 28-of-40 for 304 passing yards and two touchdowns to one interception per Pro Football Reference.
This signing comes on the same day that the NFL owners approved a new bylaw that Johnson helped inspire according to a report from NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.
“NFL owners approved the bylaw proposal allowing teams to dress a third QB without using an active roster spot, I’m told,” he wrote. “A no-brainer to bring it back in the aftermath of the San Francisco playoff game.”
The aforementioned playoff game that Peliserro was referencing was the 2022 NFC championship between the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles where Johnson entered the game for an injured Brock Purdy but was knocked out of the game himself after sustaining a concussion.
It resulted in the team having to turn to Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffery to finish the game as their emergency quarterback because they had no other natural players at the position active for the game.
Johnson has shown that he can be more than a competent backup in spot duty during his 15-year career and will provide a veteran presence in a young quarterback room where the previous oldest player was just 26 years old.
Lamar Jackson Absent From Start of OTAs but is Expected to Attend Soon
While the Ravens have a new veteran quarterback in town, the one they made the highest-paid player at any position in league history last month wasn’t in attendance for the first day of Organized Team Activities.
However, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, that won’t be the case for much longer as the two-time Pro Bowler is expected to join his teammates at the team facility sometime this week.
This is still the voluntary portion of the offseason program but since the team is instituting a new offense for the first time since 2019, the recently paid star quarterback not being in attendance for every opportunity to jumpstart the learning and building chemistry process will be a subject of consternation for their fan base and the national media.
Although just because Jackson didn’t attend the Ravens’ football school the previous two weeks and wasn’t present for the first day of OTAs, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been honing his craft while putting in work with his teammates old and new.
He recently posted a photo of himself working out veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor who the team acquired this offseason and projects to be a factor in their revamped group of pass catchers.
Some notable players that were in attendance for the first day of OTAs according to a report from Hensley included Agholor, fellow wide receiver Rashod Bateman, inside linebacker Patrick Queen, free safety Marcus Williams and offensive tackle Morgan Moses.
Ravens Waive Former 5th-Round Outside Linebacker
In a corresponding move with Johnson’s signing, the team formally released outside linebacker Daelin Hayes per a personnel notice according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons for the time being.
The team selected Hayes in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft at No. 171 overall out of Notre Dame but never recovered from a knee injury he sustained as a rookie that cut his delayed debut short after just four snaps per Pro Football Reference.
He would’ve faced long odds to make this year’s roster even if healthy due to some of the young higher drafted edge talent the Ravens added in back-to-back drafts. There is also what will likely be veteran addition to the position before the start of the regular season whether it is bringing back 2022 sack leader Justin Houston or signing a different proven edge defender.