Many players from the XFL have made their way to the NFL, in one form or another. At the same time, many who were top players still sit at home, regardless of their talent level.
One of those that had been a head-scratcher, was Los Angeles Wildcats QB Josh Johnson. Now Johnson has a home in the NFL once again signing with the 49ers practice squad. He worked out with the team back in August but was not signed. He joins Renegades RB Austin Walter on the practice squad.
49ers starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo was but on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Starter Nick Mullens did not impress in Thursday night’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, 34-17.
Johnson’s journey to the XFL started during the QB allocation process. LA chose Luis Perez, at the time, and it wasn’t clear if Johnson was going to be available since he was waiting for a call from the NFL at the time. After it became known that he would be, the Wildcats added him to their roster.
Perez would be dealt to New York before the season started, and the Josh Johnson era in LA would begin. Kind of.
He would miss Week 1 with an injury, but wouldn’t miss another game in the virus-shortened season. Despite missing that first week, Johnson would finish 2nd in passing yards and finish with totals of 81-135, 1074 yards, 11 TDs, and just 2 INTs. His name started to come up as a potential XFL MVP candidate before the season was cut short.
A dual-threat, yet very proficient in the pocket, Johnson has had other stints in the NFL and one in the CFL. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, he has gone on to start with several teams, albeit due to injury. He was a member of the 49ers’ practice squad in 2012 and 2014.
Johnson is one of 5 Wildcats to sign pro contracts. He and OT Storm Norton are the only two LA players on NFL squads.
We feel like this has just been because of the situation he came into, Johnson has proven he can play at a high level, just never been in a scenario where he has been looked at as the long-term starter.
Once he gets his opportunity in San Francisco, hopefully that will change.