JUDGE: 'Skins sign QB Johnson, kicker Hall

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Clark Judge

The Washington struck again Sunday, signing free-agent quarterback and kicker — the team's sixth and seventh additions from outside the club in the last three days. Hall, who hit 24 of 31 field goals for the New York last season and is one of the game's best at kickoffs, improves a special teams unit that went through three kickers a year ago. Johnson, who played sparingly last year for Tampa Bay, will back up starter . "He's very experienced and he's won games in the league," said player personnel director Vinny Cerrato. "If for some unforeseen reason the quarterback gets hurt he can step in and do the job." Johnson, who made all but three of his 29 starts with Buffalo, played for offensive coordinator Hue Jackson at USC, so there is what Cerrato termed "a familiarity" between the two. But there's no starting job for sale. Cerrato made it clear that Washington's interest in Johnson is only as a No. 2 quarterback and not as potential competition for Ramsey, the team's No. 1 draft choice a year ago. "He knows we're looking for a backup," Cerrato said. Hall's deal is for five years and $7.15 million, with $1.6 million in bonus money. Both deals are expected to be announced Monday. Washington has been the most active team in the free-agent market, signing defensive linemen and and guards and in the first two days. The also traded for St. Louis running back , who's better suited for Steve Spurrier's offense than , whom the club released last week. The addition of Johnson solves another hole. Washington last year rotated three quarterbacks — Ramsey, and — with Ramsey finishing the season as the starter. The three were little more than adequate — all ranging between 72.6 (Matthews) and 70.9 (Wuerrfel) in passer ratings — and combined for four more touchdowns (24) than interceptions (20). "We were well prepared going into free agency," said Cerrato. "We've had a list ready for the last two-and-a-half weeks. All that was left was to follow through on our plan. This is a credit to (owner) Dan (Snyder)." But the may not be finished. Washington also was reported to be interested in free-agent wide receiver , but it appears that the New York will re-sign Hilliard, who missed the second half of last year with a dislocated right shoulder. Washington also met with former Dallas wide receiver Rocket Ismail. "What we don't get in free agency we'll get through the draft," said Cerrato. Clark Judge can be reached at his e-mail address,
Tagged: Cowboys, Raiders, Rams, Saints, Giants, Jets, 49ers, Buccaneers, Redskins, Shane Matthews, Brandon Noble, Jake Delhomme, Ike Hilliard, John Hall, Randy Thomas, Jose Cortez, Patrick Ramsey

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