The Denver Broncos have signed veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, according to KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright.
Johnson also announced the news on Twitter.
Johnson was a fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons with the Buccaneers, and he has bounced around the league, since then. Prior to joining the Broncos, Johnson has been on 13 different NFL teams.
In addition, Johnson played for the San Diego Fleet in the AAF in 2019, and he played for the Los Angeles Wildcats in the XFL in 2020.
In Week 9, Johnson completed 27 out of 41 passes for 317 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception for the Jets. He looked sharp all afternoon.
In Week 16, Johnson completed 28 out of 40 passes for 304 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception for the Ravens.
Johnson ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash during the 2008 NFL combine, and at age 35, he still has good mobility.
Johnson is not a big-name addition, but he has been in the league this long for a reason.
He gives the Broncos a reliable backup option behind Russell Wilson.
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Johnson Is Expected to Compete with Brett Rypien for the Backup QB Spot
After trading away Drew Lock, the Broncos have two backup quarterback options Johnson and Brett Rypien.
The Broncos originally signed Rypien as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
Rypien started one game for the Broncos in 2020. Coincidentally, it came against the Jets. Rypien completed 19 out of 31 passes for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions and led the Broncos to a 37-28 victory.
Both Rypien and Johnson have cases to become the backup quarterback. At age 25, Rypien has more upside. Meanwhile, Johnson has more experience, and he is a more proven player.
Could the Broncos Still Draft a QB?
Johnson or Rypien are not guaranteed to be the backup quarterback next season. Johnson spent a large portion of last season on practice squads, while Rypien was behind both Lock and Teddy Bridgewater on the Broncos’ depth chart.
Before trading for Wilson, the Broncos met with a number of quarterback prospects at the NFL combine, but one of those names stood out, Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby. The meeting went well, according to KOA Colorado’s Ryan Edwards.
The other quarterbacks the Broncos met with were firmly in the first-round conversation, but Eleby is projected to be a Day 3 pick in most mock drafts. So, he should still be an option for the team.
There have been a few indications that the Broncos’ interest in Eleby is real. On February 23, Allbright hinted Eleby was a possibility for the Broncos.
Following the Wilson trade, the Broncos still have eight picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
Given their previous interest, I would not be surprised to see the team take Eleby in the later rounds of the draft.