ASHBURN, Va. -- It could be the final start of his career. It also might lead to more opportunities. Washington Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson's NFL future could be helped -- or hurt -- by the season finale Sunday.
Not that he’s worried about the consequences. A month ago, Johnson was at home in Oakland, California, playing in charity basketball games, when his life took an unexpected turn. Suddenly, a guy with zero NFL starts between 2012 and 2017 would make three.
That’s why he’s not yet worried about his future.
“No,” Johnson said. “I keep telling you all this is fun for me, man. I’ve been on the bench, I’ve been at home, I’ve been a lot of other places where I don’t want to be. So every opportunity I get to go out there on that field I’m excited, and I’m going to enjoy this moment most definitely.”
The Redskins clearly have decisions to make at quarterback, with concerns about Alex Smith’s future. At the very least, he’ll miss training camp.
They also have Colt McCoy, who also broke his leg but should be fine for spring workouts. Because they have only $20 million in salary-cap space available -- though they can easily clear more -- and will have other pressing needs, their best option would be drafting a quarterback.
Even if they do that, the Redskins would still need another one to get them through the summer. Johnson would be an inexpensive option, though that also will be based on who else is available. Johnson said he’d like to return; Washington isn't ready to commit.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of a possible Johnson return, “That’s a ways away for us. We're trying to focus on Philadelphia. All those discussions will take place once the season is over and we have a green light to move forward, talking about our personnel, we'll go there then."
Johnson, 32, has done a solid job considering he wasn’t signed until Dec. 4. In 2½ games, Johnson has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 499 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a total QBR of 73.1 and a passer rating of 82.7. His QBR is more impressive in part because of other aspects he provides, namely his running. Johnson has rushed 20 times for 116 yards and a touchdown.
He helped the Redskins, decimated by injuries, win at Jacksonville and nearly led an upset victory at Tennessee, thwarted in part because of his interception with less than two minutes remaining.
He knows nothing is guaranteed. The Redskins, after all, were his 12th organization. On Sunday, he’ll be playing not only for the Redskins (7-8) but also for anyone else who might have an opening in 2019. He also might join the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football this winter. But he's really auditioning for other NFL teams.
"I’m accustomed to that because that’s the nature of this business,” Johnson said. “So I really can’t focus on that because, I mean, one team may think you’re doing well and another team may not think you’re doing that well. It’s all about how they feel about their perception. That’s another situation that’s out of my control. What I can control is at the end of the day how we go out there and make sure I do my part to help the Redskins get in a position to win. So I’m just kind of re-narrowing my focus like I’ve always done and just trying to focus on that."