Packers sign rookie tackle Caleb Jones to 53-man roster from practice squad
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers didn't take any chances when it came to losing tackle Caleb Jones, one of the biggest surprises of training camp.
Jones has been signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, the club announced Tuesday.
According to a source, the Packers were going to lose Jones after a weekend in which there were several significant tackle injuries around the NFL and so they moved quickly to take him off the market. Any team could have offered him a spot on its 53-man roster as long as it was willing to commit to paying him three weeks of salary.
Over the weekend, the Baltimore Ravens lost tackle Ju’Wan James to a season-ending Achilles’ injury and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost starting left tackle Donovan Smith for an unspecified amount of time with an elbow injury. Smith’s injury isn’t considered serious but the Buccaneers already are very thin on the offensive line and may have sought backup help.
Jones played mostly left tackle in camp but started to see some time at right tackle near the end and would be able to back up both positions. The Packers released him on the cutdown to 53 and held their breath to see if he was claimed on waivers.
After he cleared, he was signed to the practice squad, but the Packers knew there was a chance he would be pursued by other teams as the season wore on. It turns out it took only one week for him to be considered.
To make room for Jones on the 53-man roster, the Packers placed inside linebacker Krys Barnes on injured reserve. Barnes suffered an ankle injury in the Minnesota game and will miss a minimum of four games but can be designated to return any time after that.
In addition to protecting Jones from signing with another team, they may need the rookie's help.
The Packers may again be without starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, both of whom were deemed not ready to play in the season-opening loss to Minnesota after months of rehabbing knee injuries.
In addition, left guard Jon Runyan was placed in the concussion protocol after leaving the Vikings game in the third quarter, leaving the line even thinner
Rookie Zach Tom replaced Runyan and, except for a couple of plays, performed well. If Runyan can’t play, the Packers probably wouldn’t have a problem starting Tom, but they may feel they need a better option than Jake Hanson at right guard.
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Hanson struggled, allowing a sack and a pressure and playing inconsistently in the run game. The Packers could move right tackle Royce Newman to right guard and start Jones if they feel Hanson was too much of a liability.
In other injury news, cornerback Keisean Nixon did not suffer a serious injury against the Vikings. He departed with a left shoulder injury and did not return, but he is not expected to miss much time, if any.