Eli Rogers

Extra Points: Chickillo, Packers, XFL

The Steelers aren’t going to have to worry about an Anthony Chickillo suspension. The linebacker was arrested last month on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, but the charges were later dropped. The NFL conducted their own inquiry, and determined there was “insufficient evidence and the investigation is now closed with no punishment,” a source told Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chickillo was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list after the arrest, but was removed from it a few weeks back. He ended up only missing one game, a win over the Dolphins, due to the incident. He plays a rotational role on defense while also playing heavy snaps on special teams.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tough blow for Cole Madison, as the young Packers offensive lineman suffered a torn ACL during practice earlier this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s an especially brutal setback for Madison, who has had a rough start to his NFL career. A fifth-round pick out of Washington State back in 2018, he missed his entire rookie season with a personal issue. There were reports that Madison might never play football again, and that his decision to step away was connected to the suicide of college teammate Tyler Hilinski. Madison had yet to play this season as he was working his way back from a separate injury. Hopefully he can return for a healthy 2020.
  • The XFL is getting another relative big name. Former Steelers receiver Eli Rogers will be playing in the upstart league when it kicks off next year, he announced on Twitter. A former undrafted free agent from Louisville, Rogers had a breakout year in his first season of action back in 2016. He developed a rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and ended up starting eight games while finishing 594 yards and three touchdowns. A torn ACL the following year derailed his once-promising career, and Rogers was waived at final cuts this past August. Since then he’s been making the rounds with workouts, but has been unable to latch on with an NFL team.
  • In case you missed it, quarterbacks Josh Johnson, Chase Litton, and Taylor Heinicke are also joining the XFL.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/22/19

Here is Tuesday’s summary from the workout circuit:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Texans Work Out Eli Rogers

The Texans are working out wide receiver Eli Rogers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

One of Houston’s starting wideouts, Will Fuller, left Sunday’s loss to the Colts with a hamstring injury. In a separate report today, Rapoport described the injury as a “rather significant hamstring pull” that is expected to keep Fuller off the field for “several weeks.”

While star DeAndre Hopkins is the undisputed top receiver in Houston, Fuller has been a valuable second option for quarterback Deshaun Watson. Thus far in 2019, Fuller had already amassed 34 receptions for 450 yards and three touchdowns. However, injuries have been a consistent part of the 2016 first-round pick’s career thus far.

Rogers may be the most proven receiver on the free-agent market aside from Antonio Brown. Coincidentally, Rogers also made his name with the Steelers. Pittsburgh signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville in 2016. As a rookie, Rogers started half of the team’s games and made 48 receptions for 594 yards and three touchdowns.

His role faded in 2017 as JuJu Smith-Schuster began emerging opposite of Brown. Then in the playoffs, Rogers tore his ACL and missed almost the entirety of the 2018 season. Unable to reassert himself into Pittsburgh’s rotation, the organization released him in their final roster cuts prior to this season.

He has already had workouts with the Buccaneers and Dolphins, but has yet to sign a contract. Given the significance of Fuller’s role in Houston, a newcomer will not be expected to step into the starting lineup. But, someone with experience, like Rogers, could help make up for the loss.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Today’s NFL workout updates, all courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Dolphins Host WR Eli Rogers

One of the biggest names the Steelers cut as they trimmed their roster down to 53 yesterday was receiver Eli Rogers. Rogers entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015, and had been with Pittsburgh ever since.

It looks like the Louisville product might land on his feet pretty quickly, as he already had a visit with the Dolphins earlier today, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). After spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve, Rogers had a breakout 2016 campaign. He earned Ben Roethlisberger’s trust and ended up starting eight games, catching 48 passes for 594 yards and three touchdowns.

He wasn’t nearly as productive in 2017 although he still had a role, but he tore his ACL in the playoffs that year. He struggled to make his way back from the injury, and ended up appearing in only three games last year. In those three games he caught 12 passes for 79 yards. The Steelers re-signed him to a two-year deal in March, but he was unable to crack Pittsburgh’s deep receiving corp. The Dolphins are entering a full-blown rebuild and just traded away Kenny Stills, so perhaps Rogers will find a new home in Miami.

Steelers Cut Eli Rogers; Reach 53

The Steelers got down to the 53-man max by releasing wide receiver Eli Rogers and a host of other players. Among other notables released 2019 draft picks Sutton Smith (linebacker, sixth round) and Derwin Grey (offensive lineman, seventh round), as well as Marcus Allen, a fifth-round defensive back from the 2018 class.

Rogers came out of nowhere and had a breakout season in 2016, catching 48 passes for 594 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games. It was a promising debut, but he took a pretty big step backwards the next season when he had just 149 yards and 18 catches. Then in the playoffs, he suffered a torn ACL. The ACL took a long time to recover from, and Rogers didn’t end up making it back until Week 15 of last year.

The rest of the rundown is below.

Offensive players released:

Defensive players released:

Special teams cuts:

Contract Details: Ingram, Suggs, Kendricks

Here are the latest details from some agreed-upon contracts during the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

AFC North Notes: Dennard, Browns, Steelers

Still unsigned, Darqueze Dennard remains an option for the Bengals. But the franchise looks to have given the cornerback a price point. The Bengals have not closed the door on a reunion with the sixth-year cornerback, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they have since signed B.W. Webb and retained some of their own free agents. The most recent negotiations between Dennard and the Bengals revealed a disconnect, with the team viewing him as strictly a slot cornerback — and one they may not consider paying at the top-market slot price Justin Coleman just reset with the Lions. Dennard’s camp came in with an offer north of what Coleman just signed, proposing a deal north of $10MM per year with the Bengals, Dehner reports, adding the corner’s representation never came back to the table with the Bengals. The team was willing to keep Dennard at around $8.5MM AAV, but that was before reaching a deal with Webb. The new Bengal corner played for first-year DC Lou Anarumo with the Giants.

Dennard was scheduled to visit the Chiefs this weekend. Shifting first to a higher-profile AFC North situation, here is the latest out of this division:

  • John Dorsey called Dave Gettleman on Monday to ask if Odell Beckham Jr. was indeed available. The Giants’ GM had twice said in 2019 he did not extend the wideout to trade him, but Gettleman told Dorsey he was, in fact, willing to move Beckham, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey had several Beckham trades planned, but Cabot adds the talks never included Emmanuel Ogbah or Duke Johnson. Both of those pre-Dorsey Browns investments are now on the trade block.
  • As for the player the Giants did obtain for Beckham, Jabrill Peppers profiled as one the Browns did not want to let go. Despite being a Sashi Brown-era draft choice, Dorsey wanted to keep the improving safety, per Cabot. But Cleveland’s second-year GM was not going to let Peppers stand in the way of acquiring Beckham. Gettleman was “adamant” about Peppers’ inclusion in this trade because of the Giants’ recent decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency, Cabot adds. The Giants are planning a versatile role for the third-year safety. Peppers can be under Giants control through 2021 via the fifth-year option.
  • The Steelers‘ acquisition of Mark Barron will likely not preclude them from using another early-round pick on a linebacker, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac (on Twitter). Pittsburgh did not elect to devote significant resources to replacing Ryan Shazier last year but has used four first-round picks on linebackers since 2013 — Jarvis Jones, Shazier, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. Shazier’s unfortunate circumstances may again prompt the Steelers to use a first-round choice on an off-ball ‘backer.
  • Eli Rogers‘ latest Steelers contract is for two years, not one, the team announced. The auxiliary receiver may have a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s 2019 offense, considering Antonio Brown is out of the picture and Rogers is entering an offseason healthy. He tore an ACL in the Steelers’ 2017 divisional-round game and only played in three games last season.

Steelers Re-Sign WR Eli Rogers

The Steelers are keeping one of their own. Pittsburgh is re-signing receiver Eli Rogers, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link).

Per Florio, it’s a one-year deal for Rogers. It’s the latest move the Steelers are making to try and help replace Antonio Brown. The team also signed former Colts and Jaguars receiver Donte Moncrief to a two-year deal earlier. This news comes after the Steelers’ failed pursuit of Tyrell Williams. Rogers was an undrafted free agent in 2015, and missed his entire rookie season with an injury.

He came out of nowhere and had a breakout season in 2016, catching 48 passes for 594 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games. It was a promising debut, but he took a pretty big step backwards the next season when he had just 149 yards and 18 catches. Then in the playoffs, he suffered a torn ACL. The ACL took a long time to recover from, and Rogers didn’t end up making it back until Week 15 of last year.

He did get pretty involved in the offense at the end of the year, catching seven passes for 57 yards in Week 17, which could be a good sign for him moving forward. The Steelers will have JuJu Smith-Schuster as their undisputed number one receiver next year, but after him the situation is up in the air. Rogers, Moncrief, and second-year player James Washington will all be competing for targets behind Smith-Schuster, and any one of them could break out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.