The Washington Redskins will sign quarterback Josh Johnson to back up recently promoted starter Mark Sanchez, as the team retools a roster ravaged by injuries, a person familiar with the decision told The Washington Post. The team also plans to sign defensive end/linebacker Marcus Smith.
The Redskins worked out two quarterbacks Tuesday, after Colt McCoy broke his right leg in a 28-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on “Monday Night Football,” but decided to go back to Johnson, who worked out for the team Nov. 19 after Alex Smith was lost for the season with a broken leg.
Washington signed Sanchez after that workout as an emergency backup to McCoy, and he was called into action Monday, two weeks after joining the team. Coach Jay Gruden said Sanchez, who only knew about 20 percent of the playbook when he entered against the Eagles, will be the starter moving forward.
Johnson (6-foot-3, 219 pounds) was a fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, Gruden’s final year as an offensive assistant in the organization. The desire with both quarterback signings has been to bring in someone with a connection to the current staff and a familiarity with the offensive scheme.
Johnson went 0-5 in five starts over three seasons with the Bucs, throwing for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He last threw a pass in an NFL game during the 2011 season.
The Redskins had three quarterbacks in training camp, but current Broncos backup Kevin Hogan was released at the 53-man cut down. Gruden said they were comfortable having McCoy as a veteran backup and wanted to fill the practice squad with other positions.
“Most of the time when you get down to third quarterbacks, you’re going to struggle quite a bit anyway,” Gruden said. “So, let’s get a veteran in here and teach him and that’s kind of what we chose to do. . . .
"If we had a young guy that we liked, we would have put him on the practice squad, but we just struggled to find the one that we liked, and we had issues numbers-wise with the offensive line. . . . Obviously now, we probably wish that we would have.”
Marcus Smith was the Eagles' No. 26 overall pick in 2014, a pick that was part of the deal that sent quarterback Johnny Manziel to Cleveland. The Browns got the pick in a 2013 deal that sent running back Trent Richardson Indianapolis. Smith recorded 6.5 sacks in three seasons in Philadelphia and one in Seattle. The Seahawks cut the 6-foot-3, 268-pounder before the 2018 season.
The Redskins were in need of another outside linebacker after Ryan Anderson suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out at least a week, Gruden said.