Carried off the field during the Packers’ Week 1 game at Minnesota, Krys Barnes landed on injured reserve on Tuesday. The Packers will be without the two-year-old starting linebacker for at least four games.
Although a cart and an aircast were needed, Barnes shouldn’t miss the rest of the season. He suffered a sprained ankle and calf injury in the Packers’ season-opening loss to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweet. The team promoted tackle Caleb Jones from his practice squad to take Barnes’ spot on the roster.
Packers’ Barnes plans changed this offseason, when they re-signed 2021 All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and used a first-round pick on dock walker. Campbell and Walker are Green Bay’s best off-ball linebackers, though Barnes provides quality depth. He played nine defensive snaps on his abbreviated work Sunday.
An UDFA out of UCLA, Barnes became a starter pretty quickly as a pro. The Packers’ Week 1 tilt in Minnesota two years ago featured Barnes as a starter, and he trotted with the team’s first stringers 22 more times between the 2020 and 21 seasons. Pro Football Focus has ranked Barnes just in the top 50 at linebacker last season. Barnes, who had 81 tackles last season and recovered two fumbles, is expected to be back as Green Bay’s No. 2 player at some point this year.
The NFL adjusted its IR rule this offseason. After allowing teams to make unlimited IR return trades the past two seasons, the league capped those moves at eight this year. This will reintroduce some strategy regarding IR, but not as much as before the COVID-19 pandemic.