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The “54th Man,” QB Josh Johnson, is Re-signed by the San Francisco 49ers

October 14th, 2014 at 2:20 PM
By Edwin Mariano Santiano Wise

Third string quarterback Josh Johnson was resigned Tuesday by the San Francisco 49ers. Johnson was released last week, leading up to the Niners match up with the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football.

Much like special teamer Kassim Osgood, Johnson has been cut and resigned three different times since the end of training camp. Oddly enough, this time around Johnson had been released in order to make room for Osgood for the week six contest.

On Tuesday however, the Niners had released Bubba Ventrone to make room for Johnson on the active 53-man roster. Ventrone plays safety but is primarily a special teams player, much like Osgood.

Johnson has primarily been used as the Niners' scout team quarterback, as the red and gold currently are without a quarterback on their practice squad.

The sixth-year pro has been called the "54th man" on the roster and has been used as part of a little roster trick in order for the Niners to have additional depth on game days.

According to NBC Sports' Mike Florio:

"A vested veteran not subject to waivers gets cut late in the week, after being around long enough to get a game check. Then, immediately after the next game, the player returns to the roster. Eventually (sometime later that same week), the player is cut again."

This the second time Johnson has been part of a transaction in this fashion. Back in September, Johnson had been cut a day before gameday in favor of practice squad tight end Asante Cleveland, due to Vernon Davis ailing from an ankle injury. Three days later, Johnson was resigned and Cleveland was released.

Florio indicates that this isn't exactly a secret and not exclusive to the Niners, although they seem to take advantage of the roster loop hole more frequently than most teams. Although, after the October 28th trade deadline passes, all players that are cut are subject to waivers. All players that are placed on waivers can be claimed by any other team, making the "54th man" a riskier play.

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