Lane Johnson is officially back.
The Philadelphia Eagles' second-year right tackle has been activated off of the Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner list and onto the team's 53-man roster. In a corresponding move, undrafted rookie free agent tackle Kevin Graf has been waived in order to make room for Johnson.
Johnson is returning from serving a four-game suspension that was originally announced in late June. Johnson was suspended for violating the league's performance enhancing substance policy. The offensive lineman never actually confirmed what substance he took.
The Eagles offensive line has struggled in the absence of Johnson. Fill-in starter Allen Barbre went down in Week 1 with a season-ending ankle injury. Full-time starting left guard Evan Mathis suffered a torn MCL and was placed on injured reserve, designated to return. Starting center Jason Kelce suffered a sports hernia and, like Mathis, will likely not be able to return until around Week 10.
Johnson has been training in Dallas during his suspension. He has not been allowed to have any kind of contact with the Eagles. Head coach Chip Kelly has mentioned a number of times that he hopes Johnson is ready to play. If that's the case, the new Eagles offensive line should look something like this, from left to right: left tackle Jason Peters, left guard Matt Tobin, center David Molk, right guard Todd Herremans, right tackle Lane Johnson. That potential line-up would give the Eagles three starters at their projected starting positions heading into the season (Peters, Herremans, Johnson).
Philadelphia managed to win three games during Johnson's absence, but it hasn't always been pretty. The lack of blocking up-front has led to some struggles from both quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy. The run-blocking has been especially bad. McCoy has only rushed for 194 yards on 70 attempts for a paltry 2.7 yards per attempt. His longest run has been for 21 yards. To be determined if Johnson's addition makes a positive difference, but it surely can't hurt.
As far as the release of rookie Kevin Graf goes, it seems possible the Eagles will try to add him back to their practice squad once/if he passes unclaimed through waivers. Graf originally made Philadelphia's practice squad following final cuts. Graf was called up to the active roster after Week 1 following the injuries of Barbre, Mathis, and Tobin. Philadelphia would need to cut a player from their 10-man practice squad in order to make room for Graf.