Chester Rogers

AFC South Rumors: Texans, Colts, Lee, Titans

Drafted to be the Texans‘ hopeful left tackle of the future, Tytus Howard has since been relocated to left guard (with Matt Kalil winning the left-edge job) and has now broken a finger. The rookie blocker suffered the break in Houston’s preseason game against Detroit on Saturday night, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Coming from a Division I-FCS program, and tasked with learning one of the most difficult positions at which to acclimate in the NFL, Howard needs all the reps he can get early on in his career. But this malady is not expected to keep him out of the Texans’ Week 1 game against the Saints, Wilson adds. Howard is in line to be the team’s starting left guard. This injury, in theory, could force the team to adjust those plans.

Here is the latest from the AFC South, shifting to perhaps the division’s most important player:

  • Frank Reich does not want to wait much longer on Andrew Luck‘s recovery. The second-year Colts coach wants to name his Week 1 starter shortly after the team’s third preseason game, and while Luck doing pregame drills before Indianapolis’ second August contest was a positive development, this saga may not wrap up in a week. It’s been the side-to-side movements that have bothered Luck’s ankle and calf injuries most, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. But Luck not only did some lateral-movement work before Saturday’s game, Wells adds the 29-year-old passer has done workouts like that in private in recent days. The Colts, who will re-evaluate Luck midweek, are cautiously optimistic he will be available for Week 1.
  • Another AFC South talent is uncertain for Week 1, but Marqise Lee returned to Jaguars practice this week. This obviously increases the sixth-year wideout’s chances for being available come September. Doug Marrone expressed doubt about this recently, but Lee — sidelined throughout 2018 due to ACL damage — returned to work Saturday.
  • The Colts‘ injury situation at receiver has helped one of their incumbents. Once thought to be a bubble player, Chester Rogers is headed back to Indy’s 53-man roster. The former Ryan Grigson-era draft choice is the Colts’ top return man, Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson, on Twitter). Parris Campbell remains sidelined because of a hamstring injury, Erickson tweets.
  • Indianapolis’ revamped receiving corps will not include Reece Fountain. Reich confirmed the 2018 fifth-rounder underwent ankle surgery Friday and will miss the season (Twitter links via CBS4’s Mike Chappell).
  • The Titans are still deciding on their right guard. While veteran utility man Kevin Pamphile would seemingly have the inside track to start opposite Rodger Saffold next month, the team drafted Nate Davis in Round 3 and has 2017 sixth-rounder Corey Levin. Although Pamphile started opposite Saffold on Saturday, each of these players are in the mix. Former Dolphins draftee Jamil Douglas may be in the running as well. Mike Vrabel does not plan to name a starter until after the Titans’ dress-rehearsal preseason game next weekend, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com notes. Douglas has not played in a game since 2016; Levin suited up for all 16 Titan games last season. An injury limited Pamphile to three 2018 contests (two starts).

Colts WR Chester Rogers On Roster Bubble

Chester Rogers played a large role in the Colts’ offense last season, but that doesn’t look like it’ll be the case again in 2019. In fact, Rogers might not even be on the team.

Rogers’ status on Indianapolis’ roster is “very, very tenuous,” according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic. The Colts had T.Y. Hilton last year, but not much behind him. They rotated a series of lesser-known options as their number two, including Rogers. They made upgrading the receiving corp behind Hilton a priority this offseason, signing Devin Funchess to a big contract and draft Parris Campbell in the second round.

With Hilton, Funchess, Campbell, and Deon Cain looking like locks, Holder notes it’ll be an all-out battle for just one or two spots. Meanwhile, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writers that Rogers is competing with Zach Pascal for the punt-returning job and that whoever wins that competition will make the roster while the other could be cut.

While Rogers won’t have an easy path, he’s not going down without a fight. Holder writes that he was arguably “the best player on the field during Tuesday’s practice open to reporters,” and that “whether it was his diving sideline catch or his leaping, fingertip grab later in the workout, Rogers’ presence was felt throughout.” Rogers was often productive last year, so he’d likely draw a lot of interest on the open market if he were cut loose.

Back in March the Colts tendered him at the second-round level, showing they were worried about losing him to another team. Because of that he’s set to make $3.1MM in 2019, which could work against him when it’s time to trim rosters. In 16 games and ten starts last year, Rogers put up 53 catches for 485 yards and two touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts WR Chester Rogers Signs RFA Tender

Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, the club announced today. Safety Matthias Farley inked his original round RFA tender, while wide receiver Marcus Johnson signed his exclusive rights free agent tender.

Rogers earned only $695K in 2018, but he’ll now see a pay bump to $3.095MM for the upcoming season. An undrafted free agent in 2016, Rogers’ playing time has hovered between 45% and 65% during his three years in the NFL, but his production has increased year-over-year. In 2018, Rogers set career-highs with 53 receptions for 485 yards and two scores; his catch and yardage totals ranked second among Colts wideouts.

Any other club could have signed Rogers to an offer sheet, but they would have been forced to hand over a second-round pick to the Colts in order to land him. While Rogers is a solid complementary offensive piece, he’s probably not worth a second-round selection.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Tender WR Chester Rogers

Another Colts wide receiver transaction went down Monday, with Chester Rogers being tendered as a restricted free agent, per Stephen Holder of The Athletic (on Twitter).

Rogers will be tendered at the second-round level, per Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). That will bump the complementary wideout’s salary to nearly $3.1MM.

The Colts now have Devin Funchess in the fold, joining T.Y. Hilton. This stands to limit Rogers’ opportunities, but he made the most of them last season. Rogers caught 53 passes for 485 yards (second among Indianapolis wideouts) and two scores last season, his third with the Colts.

Indianapolis entered Monday with a league-high cap space figure, more than $100MM, so Chris Ballard is almost certainly not done adding to his team. The third-year Colts GM has been known to seek second-wave bargain signings and thus far has not spent big for one of this year’s prized talents. Though, it’s still early on that front.

South Notes: Falcons, Saints, Colts, Titans

The Falcons don’t intend to waive recently suspended cornerback Jalen Collins in the very near future, but it appears the club is still assessing its options, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “The disappointment for having a second, repeat offense is stronger,” head coach Dan Quinn said Monday. “This just came through yesterday. Some trust has been broken. We’ll take all the time that we need to make the best decision for the team.” Atlanta now has the secondary depth to withstand a Collins release, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, who identifies C.J. Goodwin and Deji Olatoye as valuable reserve pieces. Collins is suspended through late November, so the Falcons don’t have to make a decision on his status for some time.

Let’s check in on the latest from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Chase Daniel will almost assuredly serve as the Saints‘ backup quarterback during the upcoming season, meaning the battle for New Orleans’ third signal-caller job will come down to Garrett Grayson and Ryan Nassib, as Nick Underhill of the Advocate details. Grayson, a third-round pick just two years ago, currently has the upper hand, per Underhill, as Nassib — a free agent addition who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Giants — is considered a “long shot” to earn a roster spot. Of course, the Saints could opt to keep only two quarterbacks, at which the team would likely attempt to sneak Grayson onto their practice squad.
  • Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers has changed representation, hiring Rosenhaus Sports to replace Warren and Simpson, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. As a former undrafted free agent, Rogers is eligible to renegotiate his contract after only two seasons (in his case, following the 2017 season). Thus far, Rogers hasn’t done enough to earn an extension, as he managed only 19 receptions for 273 yards during his rookie campaign. However, the 23-year-old Rogers has been working as the Colts’ No. 3 receiver during training camp, ahead of Kamar Aiken and Phillip Dorsett, reports Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).
  • If the stress fracture in his right foot continues to act up, Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe could begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, which would force him to miss the first six games of the year, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com writes. Sharpe, a fifth-round selection in 2016, reportedly has a tenuous grasp on a roster spot, but placing him on PUP could give Tennessee more time to make a decision on his fate. Currently being sued after an alleged assault, Sharpe is countersuing his accuser.

AFC Notes: Hopkins, Big Ben, Colts, Chiefs

Both the Texans and No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins would like to reach a long-term deal this summer, and odds are that it will happen, suggests John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Hopkins, due to make $7.9MM as a fifth-year option player this season, became all the more important to the Texans’ cause for 2017 after No. 2 receiver Will Fuller suffered a broken collarbone Wednesday. Fuller’s multi-month absence could mean even more opportunities for Hopkins, who easily led the Texans in both targets and receptions in each of the previous two seasons. Despite having to catch passes from middling or worse quarterbacks throughout his career, Hopkins has a history of terrific production. Thanks to his output thus far, the 25-year-old looks poised to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid wideouts in the coming weeks.

More from the AFC:

  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is keeping all options on the table beyond 2017, including retirement and playing a few more years. “I hope (to play multiple future seasons), but I’m only going to focus on this year,” Roethlisberger revealed Wednesday (via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review). Whether the 35-year-old sticks around will depend somewhat on how much of a beating his offensive line allows him to take this season. “If those guys up front are playing as well as they have been playing, getting sacked (a career-low) 17 times in (2016) — it might keep me around a little longer,” he said.
  • With 2015 first-round pick Phillip Dorsett and free agent signing Kamar Aiken, the Colts have a pair of notable receivers behind starters T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. However, the unheralded Chester Rogers has emerged as Indy’s likely No. 3 wideout, according to Kevin Bowen of the team’s website. As an undrafted rookie last year, Rogers accrued 34 targets and 19 catches in 14 games (two starts), and he averaged 14.4 yards per catch. Both Dorsett and Aiken bettered Rogers’ counting stats in 2016, but the second-year man has nonetheless turned into a “virtual 12th starter for the Colts,” writes Bowen.
  • Defensive tackle Roy Miller‘s contract with the Chiefs is a one-year, $1.4MM pact that could be worth up to $2.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The deal includes $300K in guarantees.

Colts To Sign 21 Undrafted Free Agents

SATURDAY, 5:45pm: The Colts announced one more undrafted free agent addition on Twitter: Purdue cornerback Frankie Williams.

The Colts also announced that they’ve waived tackle Davante Harris, who was signed as an undrafted free agent earlier this week.

MONDAY, 6:16pm: The Colts announced that they have agreed to terms with 21 undrafted free agents. Here’s the complete list of the team’s newest UDFAs:

  • WR Daniel Anthrop (Purdue)
  • DE Sterling Bailey (Georgia)
  • Isiah Cage (Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
  • CB Daniel Davie (Nebraska)
  • RB Josh Ferguson (Illinois)
  • TE Darion Griswold (Arkansas State)
  • Davante Harris (Appalachian State)
  • WR Marcus Leak (Maryland)
  • LB Curt Maggitt (Tennessee)
  • Stefan McClure (California)
  • WR MeKale McKay (Arkansas)
  • TE Mike Miller (Taylor University)
  • CB Christopher Milton (Georgia Tech)
  • Adam Redmond (Harvard)
  • WR Chester Rogers (Grambling State)
  • LB Anthony Sarao (USC)
  • DE Delvon Simmons (USC)
  • WR Tevaun Smith (Iowa)
  • LB Ronald Thompson (Syracuse)
  • CB Darius White (California)
  • Andrew Williamson (Vanderbilt)