Dec. 5 (UPI) — The Washington Redskins discussed signing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but are now expected to ink Josh Johnson.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Tuesday that the team would “probably go in a different direction” than the former San Francisco 49ers gunslinger. Washington is now down to third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez after losing starter Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy to season-ending injuries.
Smith, 34, went down with a broken right leg in Week 11. McCoy started once before throwing four passes in Week 13 and leaving with a broken leg.
“Oh, he’s [Kaepernick] been discussed for sure and right now at this point, we already had a workout last week for the few guys,” Gruden said. “We had a couple other guys come in today and then it’s just going to be a matter of which way we want to go.”
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“Do we want to go with a guy that’s familiar with my terminology who we worked out last week, or with a new guy to back up Sanchez with a similar skill set, or go with a guy and teach basically a whole new kind of offense with a new offensive line and with a lot of those zone reads and all that stuff. Not a lot of time to really get a brand new quarterback and new system installed and taught in a couple of days of practice. He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go a different direction.”
Gruden said the discussions to bring in Kaepernick were “not really” any different than talks regarding other quarterback options. He said if it had been Week 1 of the season, Kaepernick would have been a better possibility of joining the team.
” … but since it’s Week 13 with four games to go, in order to really utilize somebody like Colin Kapernick’s skillset, you’re talking about a whole new group of formations and run concepts and all that good stuff. It’s just very difficult,” Gruden said.
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The Redskins also worked out quarterbacks before signing Sanchez after Smith’s injury. Gruden said he did not consider bringing in Kaepernick for that workout either.
Gruden also said the reasons for not signing Kaepernick were “strictly football’ related.
“No just football, strictly football. Like I said, when you’re talking about a backup quarterback this late in the game, end of the season, you want to have somebody with a similar skill set to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things that I’m talking about, but somebody with a little bit of familiarity, you know Sanchez being with [offensive coordinator] coach [Matt] Cavanaugh helped out a lot.”
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The Redskins worked out Johnson, Landry Jones and Ryan Mallett on Tuesday. A source told NFL Network that the team hopes to sign Johnson. A source told ESPN that Johnson is expected to sign on Wednesday.
Alliance of American Football co-founder Bill Polian told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday that the league has released Johnson from his contract.
Johnson, 32, owns an 0-5 record as a starter while completing 54.2 percent of his passes for 1,042 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 29 career appearances. The former fifth-round NFL Draft pick played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one season for the Cleveland Browns, one season for the Cincinnati Bengals and last played for the 49ers in 2014.
Kaepernick, 31, owns a 28-30 record as a starter. The second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has completed 59.8 percent of his throws for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 69 career appearances, all with the 49ers. Kaepernick’s last season was in 2016.
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