49ers’ Emergency QB Reunites With AFC Contender on New Deal

Josh Johnson

Getty Josh Johnson in the NFC title game on January 29, 2023.

When the San Francisco 49ers signed Sam Darnold, it did more than give the Niners a third quarterback. It signified the end for emergency backup Josh Johnson.

The Oakland native has now found his newest home…but a home he’s seen plenty of times. Johnson is signing with the Baltimore Ravens with ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reporting first on Monday, May 22.

Johnson’s last NFL appearance came in abrupt fashion. He had to take over the QB reins from Brock Purdy after the latter sustained a hit on his elbow during the NFC title game, which ultimately became a UCL ligament tear. Johnson, though, also had to leave after enduring a concussion during the second half of the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Josh Johnson to Have 3rd Stint With the Ravens, Had 4 Stints With the 49ers

Charm City has gotten used to seeing Johnson on their NFL representative’s roster.

Johnson first arrived to the Ravens on May 16, 2016 as a post-NFL draft veteran signing. Johnson at the time competed with Ryan Mallett and Jerrod Johnson for the No. 2 QB spot behind then-starter Joe Flacco. The move helped top off the 90-man roster for the Ravens. He had previously started in five games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before coming over to the Ravens.

Johnson, though, became a September 3 cut that season as part of the Ravens’ need to trim their roster to 53 players. Two days later, he found his way to the New York Giants. He eventually signed a two-year contract with the G-Men.

Johnson eventually added two more appearances with the Ravens in 2021 and now 2023. While he’s played for an NFL record 14 teams per Schefter, he’s had his most appearances with the Ravens and 49ers.

Johnson was first with the 49ers in 2012 after signing a two-year deal. At the time, he was reuniting with his former University of San Diego head coach Jim Harbaugh. Johnson eventually made his back to the 49ers in May 2014. He made another appearance with the Niners by signing with the practice squad in November 11, 2020.

His fourth stint was last season — as he was promoted to the active roster on December 4, 2022.

In 39 total game appearances, Johnson has thrown 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions — and that was through his eight NFL seasons with the Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Commanders, New York Jets, Ravens, and 49ers.

49ers Officially Begin ‘Phase 3’ of Offseason

The 49ers are one of 20 NFL teams that will begin organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday. Here’s their complete schedule:

  • May 22 and 23, then a May 25 practice.
  • May 30-31 following Memorial Day, and to close out May.
  • June 2, which gives them Thursday off following the May 31 practice.
  • June 5 and 6, then the final OTA session for June 8.

The 49ers’ OTA sessions are part of what’s called “Phase Three” in the NFL — which is for the 10 OTA practices. During this phase, there’s no hitting (or live contact with pads and helmet) while most sessions run a 7-on-7 team passing drill.

Participation in OTAs for veterans are voluntary. Meaning injured veterans or those awaiting a new contract have used the time to sit out. But the only significant absence is expected to be Purdy, as he continues to heal from his elbow surgery post-NFC Championship game.

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