There is going to be plenty of time to celebrate Brian Urlacher’s official enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But first, there is some transaction business to attend to on this day.
The Chicago Bears’ preseason roster churn continued with a swap of offensive lineman. Chicago announced the signing of Kaleb Johnson, who has some NFL practice squad experience and familiarity with Matt Nagy’s offense having signed to Kansas City’s practice squad in December 2017. Johnson also has practice squad experience with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Arizona Cardinals from 2015 to 2017.
The Ravens signed Johnson as an undrafted free agent after he completed his college playing career at Rutgers. Johnson started 50 games for the Scarlet Knights, including 13 as a left guard during his senior year in 2014 where he earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors.
Johnson put together a pretty solid college career. He earned Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com and the Football Writers Association of America in a season where he started 11 games at right tackle. From there, Johnson was named All-Big East second team offensive tackle for his work as a sophomore left tackle. Johnson spent his final two years starting at left guard for Rutgers, starting in each of the team’s 13 games in those two seasons. The Jacksonville, Fla., native was rated the No. 3 offensive guard in the state coming out of high school by the Florida Times-Union and a three-star recruit, according to scouting websites Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Between the versatility Johnson showed at college and his time working in the pros (albeit limited), it should come as no surprise that the Bears were interested in adding him to their mix of depth pieces along the line of scrimmage.
To make room for Johnson on the roster, the team waived center Jack Allen. The Bears signed the Michigan State product at the end of July, giving the Bears some depth at center with Hroniss Grasu and James Daniels nursing some training camp injuries at center. Allen could have conceivably pushed Grasu for a back-end roster spot, but putting a bad snap on tape during the team’s preseason loss to the Ravens probably didn’t do him any favors.