AFC South Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Metchie

The Colts had Isaiah Rodgers in mind when they traded Stephon Gilmore and let Brandon Facyson defect to the Raiders in free agency. It now looks like Rodgers, currently under investigation for an alleged violation of the NFL’s gambling policy, will not play this season. Three other players — C.J. Moore, Quintez Cephus and Shaka Toney — found to have bet on NFL games received indefinite bans that will cover at least the 2023 season. The Colts did not become aware of the Rodgers investigation until it surfaced recently, Stephen Holder of notes (on Twitter).

Although the Colts did not know about any Rodgers gambling probe during the draft, they chose cornerback Julius Brents in the second round. But the team already had a long-term need at the position, even if Rodgers was part of the 2023 equation. Rodgers, who admitted to some degree of wrongdoing hours after the report of his gambling surfaced, was not at the Colts’ latest OTA session, per Holder. The fourth-year defender had attended Indy voluntary workouts this offseason.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • As the list of AFC teams connected to DeAndre Hopkins expanded again today — via the former All-Pro’s upcoming Titans meeting — the Jaguars do not appear interested. Doug Pederson said (via 1010 AM’s Mia O’Brien) it is “not a reality” for the team to add another receiver piece. This makes sense, as the Jaguars already have their top three receivers tied to notable contracts. The team’s top move for 2023 was adding Calvin Ridley to a receiving corps housing Christian Kirk‘s $18MM-per-year contract and Zay Jones‘ $8MM-AAV deal. Ridley is tied to a $10.9MM fifth-year option, which tolled from 2022 due to his gambling-induced absence.
  • On the subject of re-emerging receivers, the Texans will have to wait a bit longer for John Metchie. While the 2022 second-round pick did some offseason work, he is currently sidelined with a hamstring strain. Metchie suffered the injury during the first phase of Houston’s offseason program, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, who adds a training camp return is expected. Metchie is on his way back from the leukemia diagnosis that sidelined him as a rookie. The Alabama product also has not played since suffering a torn ACL late in the 2021 season.
  • A ruptured Achilles tendon kept Rigoberto Sanchez off the field throughout last season, but the veteran Colts punter is back at work. Sanchez is punting again, per the Indianapolis Star, though he has yet to participate in a Colts workout. The team is ramping up its seventh-year punter, who sustained the injury to his punting leg in practice just before last season. Sanchez, who has also served as Indy’s kickoff man, is entering the final season of his four-year, $11.6MM contract. Sanchez, 28, is the only punter on Indianapolis’ roster.
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