San Francisco 49ers Free Agency: Niners Stay Busy, Add QB Josh Johnson

Brandon BurnettContributor IIIMarch 22, 2012

Johnson is familiar with the 49ers offense and will bring added competition at QB.
Johnson is familiar with the 49ers offense and will bring added competition at QB.Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have announced they'll be adding some competition at quarterback, signing free-agent QB Josh Johnson to a two-year contract, according to a 49ers press release.

The news came shortly after the team announced it would be retaining the services of wide receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., via Alex Espinoza of

Johnson, now entering his fifth NFL season, played under head coach Jim Harbaugh's lead at the University of San Diego, and the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers fifth-round pick is already familiar with the 49ers offense.

Here's what 49ers GM Trent Baalke had to say about the addition on the team's website:

Josh is a promising young player that has experience in our offensive system. He is a skilled athlete with good arm talent. Josh has shown promise in limited action, both as a back-up and starter at the NFL level. We are pleased to add him to our team.

Clearly this move shows that neither Baalke or Harbaugh is shy about adding competition at any position. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron.

With that said, the addition is likely a surprise to many. While there were once some grumblings of Johnson signing in San Francisco and potentially becoming the team's starter prior to Alex Smith's three-year agreement (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area), that chatter quickly subsided once Smith signed his deal.

Though I doubt Smith has any qualms about the move, and barring an injury, I don't see it affecting his status as Harbaugh's main squeeze. 

The 49ers' seven-year veteran has made it well documented he won't be shying away from a little added competition, and previously stated he would have even been up to the task in battling it out against a sure-fire Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning. 

"I would have relished the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job with Peyton Manning," Smith said (according to Derek Harper of The Sports XChange), when asked about the 49ers' courtship of Manning

Obviously the man has grown to become an impenetrable wall in terms of taking criticism and hearing of his job potentially being threatened.

Good for you, Alex. 

While we can still expect Smith at the helm in 2012, it does make me wonder who would replace him in the event of an injury. The team drafted Colin Kaepernick in the second round of last year's draft, and it's generally believed he is the Niners' QB of the future.

Nonetheless, depth is a precious commodity in any sport these days, especially the NFL. Injuries are a common occurrence in this league, but Trent Baalke and Co. are doing an excellent job of mitigating the potential blow of injuries moving forward.

Good work in free agency boys, but seriously—is it time for the NFL draft yet?


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