Former Bucs Record-Setting Quarterback Signs With AFC Squad

Todd Bowles

Getty Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles.

The seemingly endless sojourn of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson continues.

Johnson, 37, signed with the Baltimore Ravens for a third time in his career on Monday, May 22, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Once a fifth-round pick by the Bucs in 2008, Johnson “has played for a record 14 teams”, Schefter wrote.

The one-time Bucs backup most recently played for the San Francisco 49ers in a fourth stint. That included an NFC Championship Game appearance in relief of Brock Purdy before sustaining an injury, too.

Johnson’s career took off in college at San Diego amid 9,669 yards passing for 113 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions. He then played four seasons for the Bucs from 2008 to 2011, mostly as a backup.

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With the Bucs, Johnson started four games in the 2009 season and five overall amid 1,042 yards passing and five touchdowns versus 10 interceptions. Johnson’s arguably best season with the team came in 2010 when he managed a 95.6 quarterback rating in a wildcat role for 11 games.

Johnson also briefly played for Bucs head coach Todd Bowles in 2015 when both were members of the New York Jets organization.

Josh Johnson Keeps His Journey in Perspective

While Johnson’s career has been filled with releases and waivers between numerous new starts, he’s grateful.

“Being in my 14th year, I’m just thankful I get reps every day,” Johnson said via Denver 9 News in August 2022.

Most of those reps have come in practice whether as a backup or a practice squad member. Johnson has played in 39 games in 14 seasons, and 26 came with the Bucs before 2012.

He has only started four games since 2012, including his most recent in 2021 during his second Ravens stint. Johnson jumped in for Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley and threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns versus one interception.

“A blessing,” Johnson told Denver 9 News. “Didn’t know I was starting for the Ravens until Saturday morning. Stayed up until 3 in the morning the night before the game just making sure that when I heard something it was on my brain. It was fun. Everything in life I just make sure I appreciate everything I go through.”

One Winding NFL Journey

A California native, Johnson headed west to the 49ers as a free agent in 2012, but he didn’t make the team that year. Instead, spent a brief stint with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League, which folded that same year.

Johnson bounced back to the NFL as he bounced around the league with Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals (twice), and 49ers before the 2015 season. His stops amid more signings and releases took him to the Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Ravens, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Houston Texans through the 2017 campaign.

He couldn’t stick with the then-Oakland Raiders in early 2018 after a release, but he bounced back with the then-Washington Redskins late in the 2018 season. In between, Johnson became the top pick in the Alliance of American Football draft, but he never played a down in that league.

After a short-lived stint with the Detroit Lions in 2019, he bounced after to the XFL where he played for the Los Angeles Wildcats. Johnson found his third stint with the 49ers in 2020 before another release.

It led to second stints with the Jets and Ravens in 2021 followed by a stint with the Broncos in 2022 before the 49ers picked him up — again.

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