Bengals add Johnson to challenge McCarron

Published 1:47 am Friday, April 3, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals signed quarterback Josh Johnson on Thursday to compete with AJ McCarron next season to be Andy Dalton’s primary backup.

Johnson was Dalton’s backup in 2013, when he appeared in two games but didn’t throw a pass. He signed with San Francisco last season and was inactive for each game. He left the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent.

Jason Campbell was Dalton’s backup last season and became an unrestricted free agent. McCarron, a fifth-round draft pick, missed most of last season with a sore passing shoulder but was throwing without problem at the end of the year.

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Johnson was Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick in 2008. He has also played for Cleveland.

On Wednesday, the Bengals signed receiver and kick returner Brandon Tate to a new deal, adding to their depth at the two spots.

Tate became an unrestricted free agent when his contract expired last month. He’s spent the last four year with Cincinnati and ranks third in franchise history with 127 kickoff returns and 126 punt returns.

He averaged 9.7 yards on 18 punt returns and 22.1 yards on 18 kickoff returns last season. He also had 17 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown. Tate’s 49-yard punt return against Denver last December set up a field goal that put Cincinnati ahead to stay and helped the Bengals clinch a playoff berth.

Adam “Pacman” Jones was their primary kickoff and punt returner.