Early on Tuesday morning, reports emerged that the Green Bay Packers were promoting offensive tackle Caleb Jones from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster. Just after the NFL’s official transaction deadline in the afternoon, the Packers announced that move, along with the corresponding move to open a spot for him.
As expected, the Packers cleared a spot for Jones by placing linebacker Krys Barnes on injured reserve. Barnes will now be forced to miss at least the next four games, making him eligible to return for the Packers’ week six contest against the New York Jets the week after the Packers play the New York Giants in London.
Barnes played only nine snaps on defense in Sunday’s season opener, notching a few early in the game in exotic defensive packages before filling in for injured starter Quay Walker later on. However, he suffered a significant ankle injury in the fourth quarter that was later revealed to be a high ankle sprain. That is probably a best-case scenario after Barnes left the field on the cart while wearing an air cast around his right foot and lower leg.
The Packers did get some good news after Sunday’s game, as head coach Matt LaFleur said that Walker will have a chance to play in week two. If he can do so, that will give the Packers both of their preferred starters at the position rather than having to dip into the bench to start second-year pro Isaiah McDuffie. However, Barnes is still a core component of several special teams units, and the team may elect to elevate linebacker Ray Wilborn from the practice squad to fill in on some of those reps.
Meanwhile, Jones is added to the 53 amid speculation that other NFL teams were interested in signing him off the practice squad:
Offensive line injuries around the NFL moved the #Packers to sign OT Caleb Jones from the practice squad to their 53-man roster. There's a good chance they would have lost him to another team - possibly Baltimore or Tampa Bay -- and they weren't taking any chances.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) September 13, 2022
Additionally, the Packers may have needed Jones active for Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears anyway, as tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins may sit out another game while left guard Jon Runyan, Jr. is no lock to play after suffering a concussion in Minnesota. If the team had expected to be down all three of those players, they probably would have elevated Jones for gameday to ensure they had eight offensive linemen active and eligible to play in case of an injury.