Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson has been suspended four games for testing positive for PEDs, according to Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.
Johnson was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft and started all 16 games as a rookie. He struggled in pass protection early on, but improved and played well down the stretch. The Eagles had the same five offensive linemen start all 16 games in 2013, but if the report holds up, that won’t happen again.
As for his replacement, the most likely candidate is Allen Barbre. The veteran signed an extension earlier this offseason and is capable of playing either guard or tackle. When Jason Peters went down during a game last year, Barbre filled in for him at left tackle.
Other options include Dennis Kelly, who saw time at tackle as a rookie in 2012, and Matt Tobin.
Asked earlier this month what he needs to do to make the second-year leap, Johnson told Birds 24/7: “Just getting comfortable in the offense. Coming from college where you’ve been playing in a certain scheme for four years, you’ve got it down pat. You feel confident. The main thing was just kind of getting used to the offense and getting my confidence up to where you know you can do certain things. So confidence was a big boost.
“I’m trying to be a dominant player. I know I have the ability. It’s just a matter of being consistent with it because there’s times where I showed flashes of being a really good player, and then there’s other times where I didn’t. So I’m just trying to be more consistent this year.”
The Eagles start the season at home against the Jaguars before traveling to Indianapolis. They host the Redskins in Week 3 and then take on the 49ers in San Francisco.
Johnson would be the second Eagles player to face suspension for PED use. Second-year linebacker Jake Knott will also miss the first four games.
The Eagles have yet to confirm Johnson’s suspension.