CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have signed offensive lineman Dorian Johnson from their practice squad to provide depth for Sunday's season finale at the Saints.
To make room on the 53-man roster, Carolina placed running back Kenjon Barner on injured reserve with a knee injury. Barner has been the team's primary return man for the last few games. Wide receiver DJ Moore and ex-Saints running back Travaris Cadet have been mentioned by head coach Ron Rivera as candidates for return duties Sunday.
With right guard Trai Turner ruled out for the finale with an ankle injury and left tackle Marshall Newhouse questionable with a hip injury, Johnson will be in position to fill in as needed. A guard by trade, the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder played some offensive tackle in the preseason.
Johnson was a fourth-round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2017 who also spent some time on the Texans' practice squad in a rookie. Signed to Carolina's practice squad this time last year, Johnson – who has been on the Panthers' practice squad all year – has never appeared in a regular season game.
Tyler Larsen is slated to start in Turner's spot, but Larsen also can play center, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Ryan Kalil came out before the end of his final NFL game.