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Josh Johnson Signs With New York Jets, Gets His 17th Shot at the NFL (Literally)

By Stephen Douglas
Josh Johnson on the New York Jets in 2015.
Josh Johnson on the New York Jets in 2015. / Rich Schultz/Getty Images
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Josh Johnson, the former New York Jets quarterback, has been signed by the New York Jets. A lot has changed since the original Johnson Jets Era which took place from August 27, 2015 to September 5, 2015. One thing that hasn't changed is that teams keep bringing in Josh Johnson who just turned 35 in May. To announce the signing the Jets tweeted a picture of Johnson on the Lions where he played part of the 2019 season. He was released in September of that season to make room for Jeff Driskel.

There is just something about Johnson that is an itch I must scratch. Every single time he signs with another team for some reason, I have to take a deep dive into his Wikipedia and Pro Football Reference pages and marvel at just how little there is to see.

Since he was picked in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson has been with 13 different NFL franchises. He's been with the 49ers three times under two different coaching regimes and never seen the field during a game in San Francisco. He's also been with the Bengals twice and this is his second time with the Jets. He's also spent time with the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions and XFL's Los Angeles Wildcats and was the top pick in the Alliance of American Football draft in 2018.

In the last decade he has attempted a total of 91 pass attempts in the NFL, all within a four-game stretch with the Washington Football Team in 2018 where he had used Madden to learn his teammates' names. Of course, that makes it sound like he wasn't the second leading passer in the XFL last year, which does Johnson a great disservice.

My question to the Jets is this: Why? Why is Josh Johnson on your roster if he is clearly not a part of the immediate or future plans of the franchise? The easiest explanation is that Johnson hit it off with Mike LaFleur, the Jets offensive coordinator who was the 49ers passing game coordinator when Johnson was with the 49ers for a little over a month in the middle of the 2020 season?

Johnson must make a hell of a first impression or read the absolute Dickens out of a playbook. If it was going to happen for Johnson, it surely would have happened by now. This isn't Kurt Warner setting the Arena Football League on fire pondering his existence over a box of cereal at the local grocery store. He's not even one of those guys who has held a clipboard on the sideline dutifully for years. Six times he was only with a team for the preseason or to be on the practice squad. He signs somewhere, practices a few weeks and gets cut.

Being a journeyman backup quarterback must be an incredibly weird life. And I'm not begrudging him for taking every opportunity presented. It's just seems to me that if the Jets are throwing darts to try and find an actual player, they shouldn't aim at the pool table. I just can't wait to see where he signs next.

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