Johnson Chooses Rival Over Bears

Brad Johnson signed with the Vikings, which means the Bears are now 0-for-3 when it comes to trying to convince a veteran quarterback to sit behind Rex Grossman.

Johnson didn't find the starting job he was looking in 2005, but he decided on becoming a backup for his old team, the Minnesota Vikings, over getting a similar opportunity in Chicago.

Minnesota signed Johnson to a four-year contract on Wednesday believed to be worth about $6 million, including a signing bonus of $1.2 million.

Of the teams Johnson visited with, the Bears had the must unsettled starting situation. However, Johnson would have had to start third on the depth chart and work his way past Grossman and No. 2 Chad Hutchinson.

The Bears had hoped to add experience at quarterback. The five signal callers currently on the roster that have a combined total of 29 starts in the league.

The offense sputtered when Grossman went down with a ruptured ACL in his right knee. It's uncertain missing the final 13 games of the '04 campaign. Jonathan Quinn was a disaster as a backup and has since been released.

Johnson was originally a ninth-round pick of the Vikings in 1992. He became a starter in 1996. Injuries in 1998 limited his playing time and Randall Cunningham took over the starting job during the first half of the season, leading Minnesota to a 15-1 regular-season record before losing in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.

Johnson was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1999, where he started 27 games over two seasons, then spent the last four seasons with Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the Bucs to a 48-21 Super Bowl win over Oakland following the 2002 season.

Johnson started only four games for Tampa Bay last year and wanted to become a starter again this year. However, after visiting with Chicago, Detroit, Seattle and Minnesota over the last week, Johnson decided to become Daunte Culpepper's backup for 2005 and beyond.

Having been unable to sign Johnson, Kurt Warner or Jay Fiedler, the Bears are now likely to wait out the free agent market with no other visits scheduled with quarterbacks at this time. The remaining veterans still available include Shaun King, Jeff Blake and Doug Flutie.


Bear Report Top Stories