Cowboys sign Vikings QB Johnson to three-year deal

Updated: March 5, 2007, 11:52 PM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Brad Johnson signed a contract Monday night with the Dallas Cowboys, who wanted a veteran quarterback to team up with Tony Romo.

Brad Johnson
Johnson

Johnson's agent, Phil Williams, said the quarterback got a three-year contract. Williams wouldn't discuss financial details of the deal.

Dallas officials said they didn't plan an announcement Monday night regarding Johnson and didn't confirm the signing. On their Web site, the Cowboys reported they were "close to adding" Johnson to the roster.

The 38-year-old Johnson became an unrestricted free agent last week when the Minnesota Vikings, in a long-expected move, released the 15-season veteran. Johnson won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay after the 2002 season.

Clayton: Quick Hits
 John Clayton
Brad Johnson's signing with the Cowboys shouldn't be a surprise. He liked the idea of working with Jason Garrett, the team's new offensive coordinator, writes John Clayton. Quick Hits Insider

Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe as the Cowboys' starter in the seventh game last season and earned a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. Dallas made the playoffs as a wild-card team, but lost in the first round of the playoffs at Seattle after Romo's botched hold on a short field goal attempt in the closing seconds.

The Cowboys last week released Bledsoe, the first overall pick in the 1993 draft by New England. Bledsoe, due a $1 million roster bonus, would have made $4.5 million next season. He said he wasn't interested in being a backup.

Minnesota coach Brad Childress indicated at the end of last season that Johnson would be welcomed back in a mentoring role. But Johnson -- who has a fierce competitive drive that belies his easygoing demeanor -- said he still believes he can be a starter.

The Cowboys want Johnson to be a mentor to Romo, who didn't take a snap in his first three seasons before taking over midway through last season.

When Williams was asked what Johnson's role in Dallas would be, he responded, "He just signed the contract" and wouldn't elaborate.

Johnson started the first 14 games last year for the Vikings before rookie Tarvaris Jackson was the starter the final two of a 6-10 season. Johnson has started 122 of his 145 career games with Minnesota (1993-98, 2005-06), Washington (1999-2000) and Tampa Bay (2001-04).

"I'm sure they are going to get a good guy in there," Romo said earlier Monday when asked about Johnson's visit and the search for another quarterback. "You need two quarterbacks in this league these days."

Johnson has completed 2,620 of 4,237 career passes (61.8 percent) for 28,548 yards with 164 touchdowns and 117 interceptions. He passed for 2,750 yards last season with nine TDs and 15 interceptions -- only the third time in his career with more interceptions than TDs.

A ninth-round draft pick by Minnesota in 1992 out of Florida State, Johnson revived his career when he returned to the Vikings in 2005. He took over as the starter following a season-ending knee injury to Daunte Culpepper, and led the Vikings to a 7-2 record before they just missed the playoffs at 9-7.

After replacing Bledsoe this season, Romo started 5-1 but finished 1-4. The only other quarterback on the Dallas roster is Matt Baker, signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of North Carolina last year.

The Cowboys on Monday completed a seven-year contract worth nearly $50 million for free agent offensive lineman Leonard Davis, the former No. 2 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals six years ago. The team also re-signed kicker Martin Gramatica, who came to Dallas after Mike Vanderjagt was released in November, to a two-year deal. Gramatica also played with Johnson in Tampa Bay when the Bucs won the Super Bowl.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press