Questions surround new Brown Johnson's knee injury

Published Oct. 16, 2013 8:54 p.m. ET

The newest Cleveland Brown is no longer on the roster. The team announced Wednesday that wide receiver Charles Johnson, signed last weekend off the Green Bay Packers practice squad, has a torn ACL and has been placed on the non-football injury list.

Per NFL rules, players signed off another team's practice squad must be on the active roster of the signing team for at least three weeks. That means even though the Browns have moved him off their active roster, he still counts against the 53-man roster count for two more games.

Players on practice squads make about $6,000 per week this season. When another team calls, they don't have to leave and sign there, but many do. A seventh-round rookie who went through the spring and summer with the Packers before being waived and placed on the practice squad, Johnson decided to pursue the opportunity with the Browns and signed an active-roster contract with the Browns last Saturday.

Sometime between that Saturday signing and, say, Monday afternoon, Johnson came to Cleveland and was put through a Browns physical. Eventually, it was revealed he had a torn ACL.

On Wednesday the Browns announced they'd placed Johnson on the reserve-non football injury list. That's different from reserve-injured in one key regard. On the NFI list, the Browns don't have to pay him beyond one game check, which for most rookies is a little less than $24,000 before taxes.

That's not to say they won't pay him, or that the blame for this goes on the Browns. It's just that something's missing -- and Johnson's NFL future is on hold as he's headed for surgery, and the Browns are down a player from their 53-man roster for the next two-plus weeks.

There might be some interesting, awkward handshakes between decision makers when the Browns visit Lambeau Field this weekend.

What's left to mystery -- at least for now -- is when and how Johnson got injured. He'd spent six weeks on the Packers practice squad, so it's a safe assumption to think he'd been participating in Packers practices. Teams don't have to list practice squad players on their weekly injury report, but there's really no point in paying a player to be on the practice squad if he's not going through practices and at very least giving the starters a look on the scout team while honing his skills.

Only after signing with the Browns was it revealed that Johnson has a season-ending injury. At least based on what we know right now, it's a no-win situation all the way around.