Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 10 worst free agency signings in team history

Chris Baker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Chris Baker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Rob Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers AFP PHOTO/Peter MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP via Getty Images) /

Number 9: Rob Johnson – QB (2002)

Let’s be honest, there really wasn’t all THAT much expected from Rob Johnson when he was signed before the 2002 season, but some hype still followed nonetheless. He was already the Buffalo Bills free agency mistake after a flash-in-the-pan performance with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite that, Jon Gruden brought “Robosack” in with the goal of him being his newest reclamation project.

Johnson was simply an example of a player who teams fell in love with for what he looked like as opposed to what he is. 6-feet-4-inches, handsome, California born and raised, USC product, basically straight out of central casting. Gruden thought he would be able to mold him into a mobile pocket passer as he did with Rich Gannon in Oakland, but that didn’t exactly work out. Johnson saw spot duty when starter Brad Johnson was on-and-off injured.

Rob performed about how one with that nickname would expect, managing to get sacked a whopping 19 times in a not so whopping 88 passing plays. He did, however, win both games he started including “leading” (if you want to call it that) the Buccaneers to five field goals in a 15-0 week 17 victory over the Chicago Bears to clinch a first-round bye and the franchise’s first victory in a game where the temperature was under 40 degrees.

Johnson then watched the Buccaneers from the sidelines win Super Bowl XXXVII, and he was gone after a year. He did get a Super Bowl ring out of the deal though, so he does have that going for him, which is nice. Johnson’s time in Tampa didn’t exactly lead to disaster, but he didn’t exactly become Rich Gannon either, who despite your opinions on him is a former league MVP.