Johnson previously spent the 2016 preseason with the Ravens, but was cut prior to the regular season, per the Ravens’ Garrett Downing.
Johnson’s return to Baltimore is a discouraging sign for star quarterback Lamar Jackson’s availability for the Ravens’ Week 15 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
Jackson suffered a scary ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns on December 12, with Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley nearly mounting an 18-point second-half comeback in his absence.
Though Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism about Jackson playing against the Packers on December 13, Johnson’s signing indicates that Baltimore is preparing to take the field without their star quarterback on December 19.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced the move during a December 15 press conference, telling reporters, “On a sad note, but it’s good for him, Josh Johnson was just poached by the Ravens.”
Saleh appeared disappointed to be losing the veteran quarterback, but expressed his excitement for Johnson’s opportunity in Baltimore.
“He deserves it,” added Saleh, calling Johnson, “One of the elite pros in the league.”
Johnson Ready To Play in Baltimore
Johnson appeared in three games for the Jets this season, including an impressive effort against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9. After taking over for an injured Mike White, Johnson threw for 317 passing yards and three touchdowns, both career-highs for the seven-year veteran. He earned a career-best 76.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for his performance.
While the 35-year-old Johnson is the Ravens’ second-oldest player, behind 39-year-old punter Sam Koch, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun, he proved he’s still got some moves during a two-point conversion against the Houston Texans in Week 12.
Johnson becomes the third ankle-breaking quarterback on the Ravens’ roster after Huntley put on his best “Lamar Jackson impression” against the Browns. Baltimore also has former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler on their practice squad.
Johnson will have to learn the Ravens’ offensive playbook in just a few days in case he’s needed for quarterback depth against the Packers.
Ravens-Jets Exchange Another Player
The Ravens’ signing of Johnson from the Jets is a reversal in a long trend of players departing Baltimore and eventually landing in New York.
Ex-Ravens Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco is currently in the middle of his second stint with the Jets after a midseason trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. Flacco was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2008 draft and spent the first 11 years of his career in Baltimore, leading the Ravens to six playoff appearances.
Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley was the Ravens’ first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and made 77 starts in Baltimore from 2014-2018. As a Raven, Mosley earned four Pro Bowl nods and four All-Pro selections, but he hasn’t made the same impact in New York. He struggled with injuries in 2019 after signing a record-setting five-year, $85 million contract with the Jets, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, and later opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Jets’ website.
The Jets also signed former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan as their new head coach in 2009, with All-Pro linebacker Bart Scott joining Ryan in New York that season as well. Though the Jets made back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010, Ryan and Scott both struggled for the rest of their tenure in New York.