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Cowboys Sign Veteran Quarterback Brad Johnson
IRVING, Texas - Just one day after addressing one of their top two priorities heading into free agency, the Cowboys filled yet another need Tuesday morning.
The Cowboys finalized a three-year, $7.5 million deal with veteran quarterback Brad Johnson, who is expected to back up Tony Romo next season.
Johnson, a 15-year veteran who spent last season with the Vikings, has started 122 games in his career, including the first 14 last year in Minnesota.
The signing of Johnson comes on the heels of a busy Monday for the Cowboys, who not only signed mammoth offensive lineman Leonard Davis (6-6, 366) to an even bigger contract of seven years, $49.6 million, but also gave kicker Martin Gramatica a new two-year contract.
Johnson, who will be 39 at the start of next season, met with the Broncos on Sunday before an all-day visit with the Cowboys on Monday. The veteran quarterback will reunite with former teammate Jason Garrett, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator who was a backup quarterback in Tampa Bay for part of the 2004 season.
Johnson, who was mostly a backup in college at Florida State, spent his first five NFL seasons in Minnesota, where it took him three years to become the Vikings' starter.
He signed with the Redskins in 1999 and played two seasons in Washington before moving on to the Buccaneers for four years. Johnson led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in 2002 when he tossed 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions that season.
He returned to the Vikings in 2005 for the last two seasons, but it became clear Minnesota has intentions of playing last year's second-round pick Tarvaris Jackson, who started the final two games last season. The Vikings released Johnson on Feb. 28, the same day the Cowboys cut ties with Drew Bledsoe.
Johnson will likely back up Romo, who started the final 10 games last year and led the Cowboys to the playoffs, where they suffered a tough loss to the Seahawks.
While Romo had a costly dropped snap as the holder for a potential go-ahead field goal in the final minutes, the Cowboys have made it clear he will be their starting quarterback next season. So the addition of Johnson doesn't appear to be for a competition with Romo.
In fact, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday that given Romo's mere 10 starts, getting a veteran such as Johnson will have its advantages.
"That seems to make sense," Jones said. "That not only helps Tony, but if something did happen to Tony, I feel that would keep us competing at a high level. I think we're leaning toward going to an older, experienced guy."
The only other quarterback on the roster is Matt Baker, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad last year. Baker, an undrafted player from North Carolina, joined the Cowboys in training camp. ReadRead