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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Josh Johnson's time with the Bucs comes to an end



Just like the signing of Carl Nicks effectively ended Jeff Faine's tenure in Tampa Bay, today's news that the Bucs have signed backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky to a two-year deal likely seal's Josh Johnson's fate.

Johnson, the Bucs' fifth-round pick in 2008, became an unrestricted free agent this week, and appears unlikely to be invited back given today's acquisition. Orlovsky figures to be Josh Freeman's primary backup, making Johnson expendable to the Bucs. The team's newest signee inked a two-year, $2.5 million deal according to the club, one commensurate with his projected role as the No. 2 quarterback.

Johnson probably has his heart set on finding a situation that will allow him to compete for playing time -- he was never going to overtake Freeman in Tampa Bay -- but his 0-5 mark as a starter doesn't help his cause.

Still, Johnson could attract some interest once the quarterback market begins to settle. Many dominoes are yet to fall, including decisions by free agents Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Their ultimate decisions will clarify several teams' quarterback situations, including a team like the Broncos, which would make some sense for Johnson. Denver is among the teams pursuing Manning.

Johnson, in his four seasons in Tampa, appeared mostly briefly in 26 games, completing 96 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards. He threw five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his most recent start, a loss to Carolina on Dec. 4, Johnson was 16 of 27 for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Third-string quarterback Rudy Carpenter remains under contract with the Bucs. His future is uncertain, too, as there is a precedent for having just two quarterbacks on the active roster.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 15, 2012 2:16pm]


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