Josh Johnson
refer to caption
Johnson with the Washington Redskins in 2018
No. 8 – Detroit Lions
Personal information
Born: (1986-05-15) May 15, 1986 (age 34)
Oakland, California
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:219 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:Oakland Tech
(Oakland, California)
College:San Diego
NFL Draft:2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 160
Career history
* Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( 2008 2011)
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
* 4× All-Pioneer Football League (2004–2007)
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Passing yards:1,632
Passer rating:61.7
Rushing yards:394
Rushing touchdowns:1
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Joshua Javon Johnson (born May 15, 1986) is an American football quarterback for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at San Diego, and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Considered a journeyman quarterback, Johnson has been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Sacramento Mountain Lions, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Redskins. Despite playing for thirteen teams during his NFL career, he did not win his first game as a starter until his 11th season as a member of the Redskins in 2018.

Early yearsEdit

Johnson attended Oakland Technical High School and was a letterman in football, basketball, and track & field. In football, as a senior, he was named the team's Most Improved Player, was a first team All-City selection, and led his team to the Oakland Athletic League Championship. He was also a teammate of cousin Marshawn Lynch.

College careerEdit


Josh Johnson enrolled at University of San Diego in 2004, where he played backup quarterback to Todd Mortensen. He finished with 135 yards on the season.

Johnson earned the starting job after Mortensen's departure for the 2005 season. That season, he earned some All-America honors after breaking numerous records. Johnson, who earned three conference player of the week honors, totaled eight games with four or more passing touchdowns. His best game of the season came against Valparaiso, when he threw for a school-record seven touchdowns (all coming in the first half). He also had five touchdowns and 375 yards against Morehead State in the Pioneer Football League Championship victory. Johnson finished the season with 3,256 yards and 36 touchdowns, completing 70.1% of his passes en route to being named team MVP.


After his record-setting sophomore season, Johnson continued his prosperity by being named third-team Associated Press All-America on his junior season. He was also named PFL Offensive Player of the Year as he led San Diego to a 10–0 start. He also led San Diego to their first Top 25 appearance in school history. Johnson finished his season with 3,320 yards and 34 touchdowns passing, and 720 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. He led the FCS in total offense, passing efficiency, passing yards, and points responsible for. Johnson totaled four games with over 300 yards passing, while his season-best was a 384-yard performance against Jacksonville. Johnson also had a 25-yard reception touchdown on the season. In the victory over Jacksonville, Johnson also set a school-record with 470 total yards of offense. Johnson finished 6th in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, for the best player in the FCS.


After two tremendous seasons, Johnson entered the 2007 season on the Walter Payton Award watchlist and as a Preseason All-American. In Johnson's first game of the season, he passed for 403 yards and 4 touchdowns. He then followed it up with two straight games of six touchdowns. Against Davidson College, Johnson passed for a career-high 428 yards and 6 touchdowns. Johnson finished the season with 2,988 yards and a school-record 43 touchdowns passing, one interception, and a career-high 726 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Johnson finished the season as the school's record-holder in career touchdown passes and passing yards; he already owned the school record for career completions. Johnson finished the season by being named a third-team FCS All-American and a Payton Award finalist. Johnson holds the record for the highest career passer efficiency (176.68) in NCAA Division-I football history. He finished third in voting for the Walter Payton Award behind winner Jayson Foster.[1]

After his senior football season, Johnson was invited to play in the 2008 East–West Shrine Game in Houston, Texas, and was named the game's Offensive MVP after finishing the game with 5 completions out of 11 pass attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown and 103 rushing yards on three attempts.[2]

Career statisticsEdit

Year Team Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2004 San Diego 12 22 54.5% 135 6.1 0 1 97.0 123 39 1.9 2
2005 San Diego 260 371 70.1% 3,256 8.8 36 8 171.5 86 379 7.2 4
2006 San Diego 246 371 66.3% 3,320 8.9 34 5 169.0 107 720 8.9 11
2007 San Diego 206 301 68.4% 2,988 9.9 43 1 198.3 101 726 10.1 2
Career 724 1,065 68.0% 9,699 9.1 113 15 176.7 307 1,864 6.1 19

Professional careerEdit

Despite his small school background, Johnson had his name on many team's draft boards. He was aided by his impressive NFL Combine performances, in which he posted the best 40-yard dash time (4.53[4]) and vertical jump of any quarterback in the 2008 NFL Combine.[5] He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 25th pick of the fifth round (160th overall) in 2008 NFL Draft. He has been referred to as a journeyman quarterback for his stints with many different NFL teams.[6][7]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP<th>Wonderlic</th>
6 ft 3 in 213 lb 4.53 s 1.53 s 2.61 s 4.42 s 7.56 s 33½ in 9 ft 2 in <td align="center">24[8]</td>

Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

File:Josh Johnson QB.jpg


Johnson made his first appearance in a regular season NFL game on September 27, 2009, at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium against the New York Giants. When Johnson replaced Byron Leftwich as Tampa Bay's quarterback with 9:33 remaining, the Buccaneers had accumulated only 35 total yards and one first down against the favored Giants. Taking his first pro snap, Johnson found Antonio Bryant for 6 yards, marking the afternoon's first reception by a Tampa Bay wide receiver. Johnson ran for 15 yards and added three more completions for 30 yards as the Buccaneers finished with 86 yards in a 24–0 loss. Johnson drove the Buccaneers from their own 24 to the New York five-yard line in his only possession. One of Johnson's passes zipped through Michael Clayton's hands in the end zone.[9]

Johnson was named the starting quarterback on September 28, and earned his first career start on October 4 in a 16–13 loss to the Washington Redskins. He threw his first career touchdown to Antonio Bryant on his first pass of the game.[10] During the 2010 season, Johnson notched a 95.6 passer rating as backup quarterback, and also made appearances in the offense's wildcat formation. Johnson was a backup to Josh Freeman in 2010, completing 14 of 16 passes for 111 yards.


On December 4, 2011, Johnson started in place of the injured Josh Freeman against the Carolina Panthers. Johnson completed 16 of his 27 passing attempts with 229 passing yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. Tampa Bay lost the game 38–19. He also made a brief appearance the following week, but attempted only two passes, one for three yards, and the other an interception.

San Francisco 49ersEdit

On March 24, 2012, Johnson signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, reuniting with his coach from the University of San Diego, Jim Harbaugh.[11] On August 31, Johnson was one of 21 players cut as the 49ers trimmed their roster to the 53-man limit for the regular season.[12]

Johnson tried out for the Chicago Bears on December 12.[13]

Sacramento Mountain LionsEdit

Johnson played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League in 2012.[14]

Cleveland BrownsEdit

On December 26, 2012, the Cleveland Browns announced they signed Johnson after injuries to Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy.[15] After an injury to starter Thad Lewis, Johnson played for one snap in a Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The single snap resulted in a sack fumble.

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

File:Josh Johnson (quarterback) 2013.jpg

On March 21, 2013, Johnson signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.[16] He was released on May 12, 2014.

San Francisco 49ers (second stint)Edit

Johnson signed with the San Francisco 49ers in May 2014. He was released on September 20, re-signed on September 23, released again on October 10, and re-signed on October 14. Johnson was repeatedly signed and released to give the 49ers a 54th roster spot.[17]

Cincinnati Bengals (second stint)Edit

Johnson was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals on April 2, 2015.[18] He was released on August 25.[19]

New York JetsEdit

Johnson signed with the New York Jets on August 27, 2015.[20] He was released by the Jets on September 5, 2015.[21]

Indianapolis ColtsEdit

On October 2, 2015, Johnson signed with the Indianapolis Colts due to an injury to starter Andrew Luck.[22] He was released on October 5,[23] but subsequently re-signed on October 7, and was released yet again on October 12.

Buffalo BillsEdit

On October 13, 2015, Johnson signed with the Buffalo Bills.[24]

Baltimore RavensEdit

Johnson signed with the Baltimore Ravens on May 15, 2016.[25] Johnson was released by the Ravens on September 3, 2016.[26]

New York GiantsEdit

Johnson was signed by the New York Giants on September 5, 2016.[27] Johnson was active for only two games during the regular season due to injuries to backup quarterback Ryan Nassib.[28]

On March 17, 2017, Johnson signed a two-year contract with the Giants.[29] On September 2, Johnson was released by the Giants during preseason cuts.[30]

Houston TexansEdit

Johnson was signed by the Houston Texans on November 7, 2017, after the release of Matt McGloin.[31][32] He was released by the Texans on November 22.[33] He was re-signed on December 27, after an injury to Taylor Heinicke.[34][35]

Oakland RaidersEdit

On March 19, 2018, Johnson signed with the Oakland Raiders.[36] He was released by the team on May 10, 2018.[37]

San Diego FleetEdit

In 2018, Johnson was assigned to the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football. In November, he was protected by the team in the 2019 AAF QB Draft with the first overall pick.[38]

Washington RedskinsEdit

On December 5, 2018, Johnson signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins to be a backup to Mark Sanchez after season-ending injuries to Colt McCoy and Alex Smith.[39] Johnson said he played a Madden NFL video game to help learn the names of his new teammates.[40]

On December 9, Johnson appeared in his first game after Sanchez was benched against the New York Giants in the third quarter of a 40–16 loss. It was Johnson's first appearance in a NFL game since 2013 with the Cincinnati Bengals.[41] He finished the game completing 11 passes from 16 attempts for 195 yards, one touchdown (his first touchdown since 2011 with the Buccaneers) and an interception. He also rushed for 45 yards and his first career rushing touchdown on seven attempts.[42] After the game, it was announced that Johnson would be the starter for the next game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game resulted in a 16–13 victory, his first career win as a starting quarterback in the NFL.[43] The following game, on December 22, 2018, Johnson and the Redskins faced the Tennessee Titans in a crucial Week 16 match-up to maintain their playoff hopes. Despite leading for most of the game, Washington's defense allowed a costly go-ahead touchdown with about four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Down 19–16, Johnson attempted to lead the Redskins down the field for a potential game-tying drive, but was intercepted first by safety Kevin Byard and then by Malcolm Butler after the Redskins managed to get the ball back with 14 seconds remaining. Washington would go on to lose 25–16, essentially ending their playoff chances. Johnson finished 13-of-23 with 153 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.[44] He started the Week 17 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. He passed for 91 yards and an interception in the 24–0 loss.[45] He had ankle surgery after the season and was unable to return to the San Diego Fleet when his contract with the team expired.[46]

Detroit LionsEdit

On August 10, 2019, Johnson was signed by the Detroit Lions.[47]

Career statisticsEdit

Year Team GP GS Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2009 TB 6 4 63 125 50.4 685 5.5 4 8 50.9 22 148 6.7 0
2010 TB 11 0 14 16 87.5 111 6.9 0 0 95.6 4 39 9.8 0
2011 TB 9 1 19 36 52.8 246 6.8 1 2 60.6 11 67 6.1 0
2012 CLE 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0
2013 CIN 2 0 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 7 20 2.9 0
2014 SF 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0
2018 WAS 4 3 52 91 57.1 590 6.5 3 4 69.4 23 120 5.2 1
Career 33 8 148 268 55.2 1,632 6.1 8 14 61.7 67 394 5.9 1


  1. Sweet: Foster wins Walter Payton Award Savannah Now, December 13, 2007
  2. "MVP Award Recipients". 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  3. "Josh Johnson". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  4. "Josh Johnson-QB".
  5. "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles – Josh Johnson".
  6. "Josh Johnson chasing NFL dream – from hotel to hotel". October 21, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  7. Banks, Don (October 16, 2015). "Keeping up with Josh Johnson, the NFL's ultimate journeyman QB". Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  8. "Historical NFL Wonderlic Scores". Archived from the original on September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  9. Taken from Ira Kaufman, Tampa Bay Online Script error
  10. "Watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins [10/04/2009 -"].
  11. Branch, Eric (March 22, 2012). "49ers agree to terms with QB Josh Johnson on 2-year deal". SFChronicle-Niners Insider Blog. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  12. "49ers cut quarterback Josh Johnson among 21 players cut as NFC West champions finalize roster". Associated Press. Washington Post. August 31, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  13. "Report: Bears try out two quarterbacks". Yahoo! Sports. December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  14. "Josh Johnson". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  15. "Browns sign Johnson after Weeden injury=Browns". December 26, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  17. Florio, Mike (October 14, 2014). "49ers playing 54-man roster trick with Josh Johnson". Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  18. Smith, Michael David (April 2, 2015). "Bengals bring back speedy quarterback Josh Johnson". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  19. Hanzus, Dan. "Bengals clear way for McCarron, release Josh Johnson". Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  20. Lange, Randy (August 27, 2015). "Jets Sign 7th-Year QB Josh Johnson". New York Jets. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  21. Cosentino, Dan (September 5, 2015). "Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson among Jets' 53-man roster cuts". Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  22. "Colts sign Josh Johnson with Andrew Luck in doubt". October 2, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  23. Wilson, Josh. "Colts sign cornerback Shaun Prater, release quarterback Josh Johnson". Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  24. Brown, Chris (October 13, 2015). "Bills sign QB Josh Johnson; K Cundiff released". Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  25. Mink, Ryan (May 15, 2016). "Ravens Sign Quarterback Josh Johnson, Offensive Lineman Vladimir Ducasse". Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  26. Downing, Garrett (September 3, 2016). "Ravens Trim 2016 Roster to 53 Players". Archived from the original on September 3, 2017.
  27. Jackson, Zac (September 5, 2016). "Josh Johnson signs with Giants". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  28. Rock, Tom (December 31, 2016). "Johnson prepared to sub for Manning if necessary". Newsday. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  29. Gantt, Darin (March 17, 2017). "Giants bring back quarterback Josh Johnson".
  30. Patra, Kevin (September 2, 2017). "Giants cut Josh Johnson; Geno Smith earns backup job". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  31. Shook, Nick (November 7, 2017). "Texans release Matt McGloin, sign Josh Johnson". Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  32. "TRANSACTIONS: Texans sign QB Josh Johnson". November 7, 2017.
  33. "Texans place RB D'Onta Foreman on IR". November 22, 2017.
  34. "TRANSACTIONS: Texans sign QB Josh Johnson". December 27, 2017.
  35. Alper, Josh (December 27, 2017). "Texans sign Josh Johnson". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  36. "Raiders sign Quarterback Josh Johnson". March 19, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  37. "Raiders Release Quarterback Josh Johnson". May 10, 2018.
  38. Wilson, Ryan (November 27, 2018). "Alliance of American Football QB Draft: Aaron Murray, Christian Hackenberg highlight QBs taken". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  39. "Redskins Sign Josh Johnson, Three Others; Place Quinton Dunbar, Trey Quinn And Jonathan Cooper On Injured Reserve". December 5, 2018.
  40. Pete, Blackburn. "Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson learned his teammates' names by playing 'Madden'". Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  41. Dajani, Jordan (December 9, 2018). "Mark Sanchez benched for Josh Johnson in second half". Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  42. "Josh Johnson returns to the field for the first time since 2013". December 9, 2018.
  43. Knoblauch, Austin (December 16, 2018). "Josh Johnson on first NFL win: 'It was just a relief'".
  44. Wilson, Ryan (December 22, 2018). "Titans vs. Redskins final score, takeaways: Late turnovers lift Tennessee despite big night from Washington offense".
  45. "Josh Johnson uncertain about his Redskins future, but grateful despite disappointing ending" (in en). December 31, 2018.
  46. "Josh Johnson: Undergoes ankle surgery". CBS.
  47. "Lions sign free agent QB Josh Johnson and free agent RB Justin Stockton". August 10, 2019.
  48. "Josh Johnson". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 2, 2016.

External linksEdit

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