Ex-Jets QB Signs With Ravens as Lamar Jackson Insurance: Report

Lamar Jackson

Getty Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson makes a play against the New York Jets in 2019.

A former New York Jets quarterback surfaced in the news on May 22, signing with the Baltimore Ravens.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter had the story first, reporting: “Free-agent QB Josh Johnson, who has played for a record 14 NFL teams, is returning to the Ravens for the third time in his NFL career, per source. Johnson was with the Ravens in 2016, 2021 and now will be back again in 2023.”

Fellow ESPN colleague Field Yates then listed every organizational stop of the long-time veteran’s unbelievable football career that began in 2008 as a fifth-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Josh Johnson’s team log,” he tweeted, relaying the franchises in order:

The Jet Press reporter Mike Mitchell also noted that Johnson’s “the 15th player from XFL 2020 on an NFL roster,” adding: “21 @XFL2023 players have signed onto NFL rosters.” Johnson joins Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown as depth and insurance behind superstar QB Lamar Jackson.

Josh Johnson Proved He Still Had ‘It’ With Jets in 2021

At 37 years old, any NFL campaign could be your last — especially when you’re a backup level talent. With the Jets in 2021, Johnson was 35, and he added a few more contracts to his career with his performances for Gang Green.

Although he was never asked to start, Johnson appeared in three games with the Jets that season after injuries to Zach Wilson and Mike White. He threw for a 64.4% completion rate — which was better than Wilson but a couple points worse than White — with 334 passing yards and three passing touchdowns (one interception).

That yielded a three-game passer rating of 99.7 according to Pro Football Reference, which was actually the best passer rating with any franchise of his entire career. Johnson was later poached off the NYJ practice squad by the Ravens — ironically — after the Jets had gotten healthier at the position. It was his second time with the organization after a brief one-week stay in 2015.

Of course, Johnson spent the end of the 2022 campaign inside the Niners organization after beginning it with the Broncos. The veteran signal-caller was called upon in the 2022-23 NFC Championship Game after 49ers starter Brock Purdy left the game with an elbow injury. Unfortunately, he exited the game with a concussion not long after.

Before the injury, Johnson went 7 for 13 (74 yards) during the NFC Championship versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Johnson-Purdy QB Rule Gets ‘Approved’ by the NFL

Ironically, on the day that Johnson inked a new deal, an NFL rule involving him and Purdy was finalized per 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,” Pelissero informed. “A no-brainer to bring it back in the aftermath of the San Francisco playoff game.”

During the Eagles’ blowout win, Purdy tore his UCL and Johnson was unable to return with a concussion — as mentioned above. In the end, Purdy played the position for San Francisco, but was unable to throw the ball.

The emergency QB rule states the following: “Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its 53-play Active/Inactive List (i.e., elevated players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are not able to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct).”

This new QB safeguard could encourage more NFL teams to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster throughout the season.