2011 Likely Josh Johnson’s Last Year With Bucs

June 7th, 2011

Raheem Morris famously referred to him as a “career backup.” Bucs fans think of him as sort of a slash player, brought in on gimmick plays to confuse opposing defenses.

But Josh Freeman’s backup, Josh Johnson, doesn’t see himself that way, so he tells video star Anwar Richardson of the Tampa Tribune. So once the 2011 season is completed — if there is a 2011 season — it very well could be Johnson’s final appearance in pewter and red.

Johnson has never complained about being a backup, but he also does not anticipate holding a clipboard once he becomes a free agent after the 2011 season.

“In all reality, and it might sound crazy when I say this, I never played football to just be a backup. That was never my goal,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “I always push myself to be the best and the only way you can be the best at something is being on the field all the time. That’s not the situation I am in right now. I’m not playing and I understand why I’m in that situation, but I didn’t get into this (football) for lifetime financially security.

“That’s what other people’s goals are, but I got to get on the field. That’s just the kind of player I am. I like to earn my keep. If I fail on my own, I can live with that because I had the opportunity, but if I have to sit back and accept what is already there for me to get, then I’ll feel like I shorted myself, and I don’t get down like that.”

Unless something dire happens to Freeman, Johnson will never get a chance to be a regular starting quarterback in Tampa Bay. Joe can’t blame the guy if he wants a shot.

If Joe were Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik, knowing Johnson will walk away, why not trade him to the 49ers where he will be reunited with his old college coach, Jim Harbaugh, on a team that clearly has no solid starting quarterback, and thereby get a draft pick for him?

We all know how much Dominik covets draft picks. Joe would hate to see Johnson go, but he can’t blame the guy for wanting a shot at a starting gig.

22 Responses to “2011 Likely Josh Johnson’s Last Year With Bucs”

  1. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Are you planning on turining Rah Rah’s decisive year over to Rudy Carpenter if (someone will argue when) Free goes down? This team is SO dependent on FRee that you better be prepared (i.e. Matt Cassel prepared or Kurt Warner prepared or Scott Mitchell prepared etc) or you will win 3 to 5 games. And yes the head coach should be held accountable if a contingency plan is not in place.

  2. Dave Says:

    Exactly why I have been calling to trade him a couple months prior to the draft. I understand they have not had the opportunity to due to the lockout, but they should pursue.
    This is how a QB rotation should work. Franchise guy, backup, project. When the backup is ready to move on, get what you can from him and move the project up to backup and draft another project.
    I really think they would have pursued all that but the lockout changed things.

    Good luck to Josh where ever he goes and, nothing personal, but I hope he does not get a chance to see the field this yer except in mop up duty 🙂

  3. Macabee Says:

    I understand Josh’s desire to start in the NFL. Josh has athletic and technical skills. But to start and stay at QB in the NFL, you must be deemed a “Franchise” QB and this where Josh falls short. His style of play, poise, field generalship and leadership skills will disqualify him. He shouldn’t feel bad about this – those characteristics are rare and only a few can derservedly wear that mantle. The UFL, CFL, and Arena League are littered with players who didn’t have what it takes to reach that plateau. I wish him well in whatever he does, but he is in the best place possible now for his long-term wealth and NFL tenure.

  4. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I think you have made it very clear that the head coach should be held accountable for everything negative that happens to the team. I don’t even argue that point with you, because bottom line is that it is true. However, I do find it very contradicting that you refuse to give the head coach ANY credit for all the positive things that happen to this team. And before you go there, I’m not saying not making the playoffs and 3rd in the division is a positive. I am saying that winning 10 games in one of the toughest divisions in football is a positive. It’s also a positive that our last 2 drafts have yielded some very good players, many of which have the potential to be great.

    I would also say that there are many many teams in the NFL without great backups. How do you think Indy would do without Peyton? How about New Orleans without Drew? What about Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers? I highly doubt you would find those coaches deserving of being fired without a great contingency plan. Besides, don’t you find it a little petty that you are laying out the blame for Raheem for an event that hasn’t even happened yet (and hopefully never will)? Whoops, sorry, I forgot who I was talking about! Of course you don’t think that’s petty, and of course you don’t mind contradicting yourself. That’s what you do on a daily basis. To do otherwise would just contradict what you do.

  5. BigMacAttack Says:

    JJ is another one of my favorite players. If they can trade him to the 49’rs and get a 2’nd rounder or work a deal for Patrick Willis, that’s what I would like to see. I would offer JJ and our 2012 first round pick for Patrick Willis.

  6. BigMacAttack Says:

    I also think it worth throwing some good money at JJ to stay for 3 more years. If Sluggo was worth $5-$7 Million, then JJ is worth $5 Milllion anyway, and I don’t think any other team will pay him that up front.

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    C’mon Josh, it’s always about the money. If it wasn’t, why is the NFL in this current mess? Hello?

  8. RastaMon Says:

    seems like a 2-3 year rotation of wiley older back up with starting expirence will be the norm in coming years…’cause Josh Freeman has a long road ahead as the starter in Tampa…..

  9. Hire Greg Olson! Says:

    BigMacAttack. Teams don’t trade away Patrick Willis-type players. Why not go after James Harrison or Clay Matthews while you’re at it???

  10. Big Marlon B Says:

    I’m gonna have to agree with Thomas on this one. I think Rudy Carpenter has some potential to develop into a decent backup, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near that point yet. If I’m not mistaken, at ASU he led them to a big come from behind win against the heavily favored USC (correct me if I’m wrong). That means he has some leadership skills to instill confidence in his guys and some clutch play in him, but he needs a lot of work to be a capable #2 at this level. If a solid veteran backup can be brought in, then perhaps Johnson would be expendable. But without that, this should not happen.

    As far as Patrick Willis goes, you guys really need to stop with the fantasy world nonsense. Very rarely do you see player for player deals in the NFL….ESPECIALLY if you’re talking about giving up the undisputed best young MLB (perhaps even best MLB overall) in the game for an unproven, albeit physically gifted QB. San Fran simply would not be dumb enough to do that…folks, this is not Madden. Stop with the delusions.

  11. Big Marlon B Says:

    Maybe we could trade Earnest Graham and a 2nd rounder for Darrelle Revis too!!!

  12. Espo Says:

    I’d love to see him stay but unless there are some very unfortunate circumstances here, he will never be our starter. I don’t blame him for chasing the dream. As for actually succeeding in his dream, I don’t think he’ll ever be a successful NFL starter. He has a niche right here and is perfect for it.

  13. buccin cane Says:

    Joe I kno u despise that other network u commonly refer to as bspn but they had a piece on bowers tonight on NFL live and Damn does he look good running and cutting the knee doesn’t seem to be an issue at all in the video….jackpot anyone…….

  14. BigMacAttack Says:

    I could really give a $h!t whether you guys agree or not. I was throwing it out there, At least it isn’t the same old BS rhetoric spouted off day in and day out. Really?

    The 49’rs suck and they are at least 15 players, and a franchise QB away from being a good team again. Sometimes you have to give up a little to get a lot. The Bucs don’t need Willis but it doesn’t hurt to dream. I really only criticize one of your comments, and we know who and why. So, hey don’t like it, stick with the same boring crap inside the box, no problem.

  15. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    Here is a guy that is playing football for the right reasons, for the love of the game. I love him even more for that, I will be sad to see him go. He is a great backup but it sounds like we won’t be able to keep him.

  16. Jonny Says:

    @BigMacAttack, 49ers are the most talented team in their division and its not even close. The only thing keeping them away from making it to playoffs is lack of QB. And no, teams don’t trade out Patrick Willis type of players.

  17. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I am totally in favor of trading Josh Johnson…not just for the right value, but because it would be good for him.

    thomas 2.2 Says:
    Are you planning on turining Rah Rah’s decisive year over to Rudy Carpenter if (someone will argue when) Free goes down? This team is SO dependent on FRee that you better be prepared (i.e. Matt Cassel prepared or Kurt Warner prepared or Scott Mitchell prepared etc) or you will win 3 to 5 games. And yes the head coach should be held accountable if a contingency plan is not in place.

    Rudy Carpenter…on what do you base your opinion of him? He has played in 5 games and all of them were preseason games. In two of them he had a rating of over 120.

    He is young and very inexperienced.

    As far as a head coach being held accountable if a contingency plan is not in place, you are mistaken. A head coach does not sign talent. He makes the best of what he’s got.

    Also…there are a lot of QBs in free agency. The Bucs are not going to bring in someone that can compete for a starting position no matter what happens. Their whole plan is to develop potential starters and trade them…which was the plan for Johnson all along.

    Macabee Says:
    I understand Josh’s desire to start in the NFL. Josh has athletic and technical skills. But to start and stay at QB in the NFL, you must be deemed a “Franchise” QB and this where Josh falls short. His style of play, poise, field generalship and leadership skills will disqualify him.

    The only thing keeping Josh from becoming a franchise QB is opportunity. If a team were to invest in him and stick with him, he would likely develop into a career starter…and he really doesn’t have far to go. All of his faults are due to inexperience. Heck, for all me know, those issues could be fixed by now.

    JJ is one of the smartest guys in football. Personally, I suspect if he doesn’t become a starter for some reason, he will become a coach…and I think he’ll be a great one. He know’s so much that his teammates, including hte veterans, already call him Coach Johnson.

    But I think he can be a starter. If a team trades for him and stands behind him like the Bucs have with Freeman, he’ll blossom.

    Back to Carpenter…we just don’t know his potential yet. Look how Brady’s career went. I would be fine with him starting if Freeman went down…simply to get him real game experience. I would prefer Freeman stay healthy though.

    JJ has potential though…for sure. And any team in need of a QB, especially a young team, would be smart to commit to him for a few years. I just hope it isn’t a division rival.

    And him talking like this? It will garner attention and raise some eyebrows. I’m cool with that.

  18. Pete Dutcher Says:

    On the Free Agency QBs, I meant to add that a suitable replacement for Johnson could be found for a year or so. Heck, Luke McCown is out there…and he’s an acceptable backup. And isn’t Brady Quinn a free agent this year?

    No one would expect him to come in as starting material…but as a backup here, he could develop into more trade bait in a year or so. We have quality coaching here…and sometimes a change of scenery is what these guys need. It worked for Brad Johnson. Redskins got rid of him, he came here and won an SB within a couple years.

  19. Macabee Says:

    Pete Dutcher, As I recall, didn’t the Bucs give Josh Johnson that opportunity after the Leftwich experiment failed? Who knows Josh any better than Harbaugh in SF? He could have waited until FA to trade for Josh – Arizona is waiting on Kolb or another experienced QB in FA. I think he knows what the Bucs know – there is no worthwhile trade out there for Josh. The Bucs aren’t going to give him away and Josh should think twice before he dives headfirst into that snakepit called FA. He needs to talk to Cadillac. Cadillac said “I wouldn’t leave Tampa Bay if they paid me”.

  20. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I am inclined to agree with Pete about JJ. I see JJ as a starter in many places besides Tampa. I wish him well.

  21. ATLBucsfan Says:

    With the announcement that Pryor will not return for his senior season at O state, though not indicated he’s heading to the NFL, what about the possibility of signing him? worst case scenario we have an extra back up with two rose bowl MVP’s. Free and Pryor have similar playing styles and if not traded he becomes a valuable 3rd string behind johnson. I say, sign pryor to a small contract, trade johnson for a draft pick, let pryor serve as a back up to Freeman while he learns for a few years, then hopefully deal him to a team in need advertising him as freeman’s prodege. just a thought, i dont see how it could hurt, we wouldn’t have to pay much to sign him, Dominik has showed no caution to signing players with “attitude problems” in the past. why not?

  22. Joe Says:


    Pryor will enter the next supplemental draft and virtually every critique of the guy as an NFL quarterback is very poor. He is projected as a wide receiver in the NFL.

    Pryor had difficulty reading Big Ten defenses. Just a hunch, but Joe suggests he will have a tougher time in the NFL reading defenses.