Aug 12, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback P.J. Walker (15) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Browns elevate QB P.J. Walker to start vs. 49ers

The Cleveland Browns elevated quarterback P.J. Walker and wide receiver Jaelon Darden to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday.

The procedural move allows Walker to be under center on Sunday when the Browns (2-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (5-0). Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in place of injured starter Deshaun Watson on Oct. 1, completing just 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards with three interceptions in a 28-3 setback to the Baltimore Ravens.

Watson, 28, reportedly is dealing with a contusion to his rotator cuff in his right shoulder after being sacked 12 times in three games this season. He didn’t practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and reportedly could miss more than a month.

Walker will face off against 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator and then interim coach during Walker’s three seasons at Carolina. Walker was benched after Wilks briefly gave him a chance to start in 2022.

Walker, 28, joined the Browns’ practice squad on Aug. 30.

He played 15 games, including seven starts, for the Panthers from 2020-22. He completed 131 of 228 pass attempts (57.5 percent) for 1,461 yards, five touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 63.9 passer rating.

Darden, 24, has eight catches for 69 yards in 23 career games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2021-22) and Browns.

–Field Level Media

May 14, 2021; Tampa Bay, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden (1) and corner back Cameron Kinley (26) practice during rookie mini-camp at AdventHealth Training Center Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers sign draft pick Jaelon Darden

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Jaelon Darden to a four-year deal on Wednesday.

Darden, a fourth-round pick by the Bucs in the 2021 draft, caught 74 passes for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns in nine games for North Texas last year. Overall, he had 230 catches for 2,782 yards and 38 touchdowns over four years.

Tampa Bay now has four of its seven draft picks under contract, including linebacker K.J. Britt, cornerback Chris Wilcox and linebacker Grant Stuard.

–Field Level Media