The Eagles will take a flier on one of the players who incurred a full-season gambling suspension earlier this year. They are signing cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Suspended for betting on NFL games, Rodgers is out for the 2023 season. He must apply for reinstatement. The Colts were planning on using Rodgers as a starting cornerback, and the gambling ban did not surface until after the draft. Rodgers was found to have bet on Colts games; Indianapolis waived the fourth-year defender after the gambling ban became official.
Eagles HC Nick Sirianni and assistant Marcus Brady were with the Colts when they drafted Rodgers back in 2020. This will bring a reunion, but it is a bit too early to tell if Rodgers will play for the Eagles. Rumors emerged indicating the former sixth-round pick placed approximately 100 bets — via a sportsbook account created under the name of one of an associate — that came under scrutiny. While Calvin Ridley was reinstated shortly after applying earlier this year, it cannot be assumed the NFL will immediately greenlight a Rodgers return.
The Colts used Rodgers, 25, as a nine-game starter alongside Stephon Gilmore last season. Rodgers also operated as Indy’s primary kick returner from 2020-22, taking a kick back for a touchdown as a rookie. Pro Football Focus ranked Rodgers as the fifth-best cornerback during the 2022 season. This assessment came on just 283 defensive snaps, but Rodgers had shown promise in limited duty. The 170-pound defender intercepted three passes in 2021 and recovered four fumbles last season.
After C.J. Gardner-Johnson turned down a multiyear offer and joined the Lions, the Eagles pivoted to corner, extending Darius Slay and re-signing James Bradberry. Slay is going into his age-32 season, Bradberry his age-30 campaign. Rodgers has some hurdles to clear before suiting up for the Eagles, residing on the reserve/suspended list. But he is a younger corner the Eagles hope to take a look at in 2024.
The two Colts to receive indefinite suspensions for violating the NFL’s gambling policy are no longer with the team. Indianapolis waived cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and defensive end Rashod Berryon Thursday.
Both were found to have bet on NFL games; as a result, each player is banned for the entire 2023 season. Rodgers and Berry cannot return to the league without being reinstated, with 2024 representing the earliest reinstatement window.
While Berry only joined the Colts after being added off the Jaguars’ practice squad in January, Rodgers has been a key contributor on the team throughout his career. Indianapolis’ primary kick returner over the past three seasons, Rodgers also started nine games at corner in 2022. The Colts were planning to make Rodgers a key part of their 2023 secondary as well.
“We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy,” Colts GM Chris Ballard said. “The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”
A 2020 sixth-round pick, Rodgers is believed to have made “hundreds” of wagers; some of those were reportedly bets on Colts games. Rodgers, 25, was tied to a $2.7MM base salary this season. This suspension not only will cost the UMass alum that money; it threatens his career. Rodgers working as a starter for a second straight season would have put him on the radar for a notable free agency payday in 2024 — or possibly a Colts extension — but he is now in NFL limbo.
Unaware of this investigation until recently, the Colts had already made big-picture decisions at cornerback this offseason. They traded Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys in March and let part-time 2022 starter Brandon Facyson walk in free agency. Facyson, who competed with Rodgers for the boundary job opposite Gilmore during training camp last year, started four games in 2022. He has since rejoined the Raiders.
Although Rodgers is a 5-foot-10 cover man out of the Division I-FCS level, this is a notable loss for Indianapolis. Pro Football Focus ranked Rodgers as the fifth-best cornerback during the 2022 season. This assessment came on just 283 defensive snaps, but Rodgers had shown promise in limited duty. The 170-pound defender intercepted three passes in 2021 and recovered four fumbles last season. He also returned a kick for a score in 2020.
The Colts did use a second-round pick on Kansas State corner Julius Brents, and standout slot defender Kenny Moore remains with the team. Indianapolis also used fifth- and seventh-round picks on corners (Darius Rush, Jaylon Jones) but may need to add a veteran to replace Rodgers.
While the Lions have cut four of the five players on their roster who received gambling suspensions, Rodgers is the most notable player to be cut because of a gambling suspension. Jameson Williams, who received a six-game ban for betting on non-NFL games on team grounds, remains with the Lions. The Titans are not moving on from starting right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, who was also handed a six-game suspension. Shaka Toney remains with the Commanders, though he is the only player thus far to receive an indefinite suspension and not be cut.
Both a tight end and defensive end at Ohio State, Berry played in eight games — with the Patriots and Lions — between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. While the Lions connection is notable given their lead role in 2023’s NFL gambling saga, Berry spent much of the 2022 season on the Jags’ practice squad. Detroit waived Berry in May 2022; the NFL investigation indicated Berry, Rodgers and free agent Demetrius Taylor bet on NFL games during the ’22 season.
JUNE 29: Colts defensive end Rashod Berry and free agent defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor are being hit with gambling bans as well. Berry and Taylor will be suspended for the entire 2023 season, joining Rodgers in that regard, the NFL announced Thursday (via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). The league also finalized Rodgers’ long-rumored suspension; the fourth-year cornerback’s ban is indefinite but will cover all of the 2023 season.
Berry and Taylor bet on NFL games during the 2022 season, the league announced. Berry remains on the Colts’ 90-man roster; Indianapolis plucked him off Jacksonville’s practice squad in January. Berry, 26, did not play in a game last season. Taylor, 24, played in one Lions contest. Both players are former UDFAs. Taylor may well be the fifth Lion the league was investigating. The Lions waived Taylor on the same day they cut Berryhill last month. Rodgers and Berry must apply for reinstatement to return to action, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets.
These three join Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere in being part of the league’s latest gambling probe. Petit-Frere will serve a six-game suspension for betting on other sports from team grounds. Thursday’s penalties run the count to nine players suspended by the NFL in 2023 for violating the gambling policy. After Ridley and Shaw were the only players hit with gambling bans between the 1980s and 2022, this year has marked a watershed moment for the league on this front.
JUNE 28: The Isaiah Rodgers suspension will likely down this week, but the Colts cornerback is not the only player on track to be suspended. Other gambling-driven bans are expected to be assessed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Rodgers will be given a season-long suspension, per Schefter. The fourth-year Indianapolis defender is believed to have made bets on NFL games. A year-long ban would be consistent with those given to ex-Lions Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney earlier this year. That trio was found to have made bets on NFL games.
Since the initial batch of suspensions came out in April, teams have attempted to provide more thorough educational efforts regarding the NFL’s gambling policy. But after the league went decades without a known issue of player betting, 2023 has brought a number of headlines on this front. Rodgers stands to be the sixth player banned this year. Those punishments follow the ones given to Calvin Ridley (2022) and former defensive back Josh Shaw (2019) for violating the league’s gambling policy.
Since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that opened the doors for sports betting outside of its traditional hubs (primarily Nevada), 33 states and Washington D.C. have opened legal betting markets. Once a beneath-the-surface topic in the NFL, wagering on games and players (via daily fantasy sites) is now regularly promoted. The NFL has partnered with three sportsbooks in recent years.
Rodgers, 25, was on track to remain a Colts starting cornerback. He started nine games last season. The former sixth-round pick had also served as Indianapolis’ primary kick returner, holding that job throughout his career. An indefinite suspension covering all of 2023 would require Rodgers to apply for reinstatement. Ridley successfully did so this year, but the former Falcons first-round pick carried considerable value based on his pre-suspension form. Such punishment may be costlier for Rodgers. This ban will result in the UMass alum not receiving his $2.7MM 2023 salary; that money will toll to 2024 and delay Rodgers’ free agency by a year. The latter aspect could be significant, as a productive season could have led to a nice payday next year.
The Colts did not become aware of the NFL’s Rodgers investigation until after the draft. The team traded Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys in March, leaving a gaping hole at outside corner. After also allowing part-time starter Brandon Facyson to rejoin the Raiders in free agency, the Colts used a second-round pick on Kansas State corner Julius Brents. Rodgers was still expected to be a key part of Gus Bradley‘s second Indianapolis defense, potentially as a starter alongside Brents and veteran slot Kenny Moore. As a result of the gambling development, Indy may be in the market for veteran help.
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.
8:52pm: Rodgers has admitted wrongdoing, though he did not specify if the recent accusations are entirely accurate. The 25-year-old defender said he has “made mistakes” and wants to rectify them. An NFL ruling may be coming soon.
“Addressing the current reports, I want to take full responsibility for my actions,” Rodgers said (via Twitter). “I know I have made mistakes and I am willing to do whatever it takes repair the situation. I’ve let people down that I care about. I made an error in judgment and I am going to work hard to make sure that those mistakes are rectified through this process.”
Depending on the NFL’s findings, Rodgers will almost certainly face a lengthy suspension. Betting on NFL games led to Cephus, Moore and Toney being banned for at least one full season. Given the scope of Rodgers’ reported violations, he should not be expected to play in 2023. An indefinite suspension would require reinstatement. Should Rodgers receive a full-season ban, the last year of his rookie contract would toll. This is assuming the Colts not cut ties with the 5-foot-10 defender.
6:20pm: Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers is believed to the player under investigation, Holder and ESPN’s David Perdum report. A former sixth-round pick, Rodgers started nine games last season and worked as Indianapolis’ primary kick returner. The Colts cleared a bit of a path for Rodgers this offseason, trading Stephon Gilmore and letting Brandon Facyson return to the Raiders in free agency. While the team drafted Julius Brentsin the second round, a Rodgers suspension would certainly affect Gus Bradley‘s plans at corner.
A sportsbook account was created under the name of one of Rodgers’ associates, per ESPN, with approximately 100 bets being placed on the account over an undisclosed time span. Most of the bets were worth between $25-$50, though Holder and Perdum note at least one was in the four-digit range.
The Colts released a statement indicating awareness of the gambling investigation into this unnamed player, and ESPN.com’s Stephen Holder adds the Indiana Gaming Commission has received “information pertaining to this matter.” No suspension has been handed down, but the Lions precedent set some parameters in the event of violating findings.
While the April development led to two Lions (Jameson Williams and since-cut receiver Stanley Berryhill) being suspended six games for making non-NFL bets on team grounds and two other Lions (since-released special-teamer C.J. Moore and since-waived wideout Quintez Cephus) and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney banned at least a full season for betting on the NFL, punishment in this Colts matter may be more extreme. The unnamed Colt is alleged to have placed “hundreds” of wagers, with Rybaltowski adding some of those are believed to have been bets on the Colts.
Obviously prohibited from betting on NFL games, players — as the Williams ban reminded — are also barred from making sports wagers at team facilities. The extent of which Cephus, Moore and Toney bet on the NFL is not known, but a report indicating this many possible violations could certainly result in a stiffer suspension for the latest player in the gambling policy crosshairs. The NFL’s investigation into the Lions has expanded to a fifth player as well, though it is unknown if that player is under the microscope for betting on the NFL or on other sports. After seeing players and unnamed staffers commit violations, the Lions have provided further instruction to their players on the policy.
The report of a fifth Lion to be investigated for a potential violation also indicated players on other teams had potentially violated the policy. The league went years without a gambling policy violator, but a 2018 Supreme Court decision that expanded betting to numerous states beyond Nevada and New Jersey has both affected the NFL through partnerships and with players running afoul of the betting policy. Although Ridley and former defensive back Josh Shaw incurred indefinite suspensions prior to this offseason, 2023 has been the league’s most turbulent year on the gambling front in decades.
After seeing Troy Hill join the Browns in free agency last year, the Rams entered the 2022 league year eyeing Cleveland’s cornerback decisions. The Rams began discussing the idea of reacquiring Hill in early March, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes, and the team monitored the Browns’ draft to determine if it was a realistic move (subscription required). If the Browns drafted a cornerback on either Day 1 or Day 2, Rodrigue adds the Rams planned to make a move for Hill. Martin Emerson‘s third-round Cleveland arrival led to L.A. brass bringing back the veteran slot cornerback. The Rams, who had lost Darious Williams in free agency, sent a 2023 fifth-rounder to the Browns for Hill. Although Hill spent time in Youngstown, Ohio, growing up, the 30-year-old defender wants to stay with the Rams beyond his current contract — a two-year, $9MM deal that expires after the 2022 season.
Here is the latest from the cornerback scene across the league:
The Patriots have primarily used Jonathan Jones as a slot cornerback. His 2019 extension came as a result of slot play, and Pro Football Focus graded him as a top-tier cover man in 2020. But New England has been using Jones on the outside in recent days at camp, Doug Kyed of PFF notes, with third-round rookie Marcus Jones working in the slot. The Pats have been searching for an outside corner alongside Jalen Mills, and the recently unretired Malcolm Butler has yet to seize that gig. Marcus Jones is also viewed as the likely Pats punt returner, per Kyed.
Will Harris has worked as a safety during his first three seasons, but the fourth-year Lions defender is now battling former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah for an outside cornerback spot, Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com notes. Harris started all 17 games for the Lions last season, but in addition to re-signing Tracy Walker, Detroit added ex-Baltimore safety DeShon Elliott. Okudah losing this competition would be a massive disappointment, given his draft slot, but ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler adds the Ohio State product is not being restricted by his 2021 Achilles rupture and is firmly in the Lions’ plans. Detroit’s first “unofficial” depth chart has Harris ahead of Okudah, alongside corners Amani Oruwariye and slot A.J. Parker.
The Colts may be ready to declare a winner in the battle to determine their third primary cornerback. Veteran addition Brandon Facyson is likely to play alongside Kenny Moore and Stephon Gilmore, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. Facyson, a Gus Bradley-system vet who has been with the new Colts DC with the Chargers and Raiders, appears to be beating out 2020 sixth-round pick Isaiah Rodgers. Largely a backup before starting nine Raiders games last year, Facyson signed a one-year, $3.84MM deal this offseason.
We’ll keep track of today’s mid- to late-round signings here:
The Texans and third-round pick Jonathan Greenardhave come to terms, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former Louisville and Florida linebacker was tangentially involved in some draft-day drama between Houston and the Lions, as the Texans reportedly believed they had a deal in place to send the No. 90 pick to Detroit only to have the Lions back out at the last moment (which the Lions vehemently deny). The Texans kept the pick and selected Greenard, who posted 10 sacks in his final collegiate season and who hopes to become a part of Houston’s pass-rushing rotation. Greenard’s four-year deal is worth about $4.5MM and includes a signing bonus of roughly $900K.
The Colts have signed sixth-round choice Isaiah Rodgers, per Josh Alper of PFT. Rodgers, a UMass product, will battle for a spot on Indianapolis’ cornerback depth chart and on the clubs’ special teams unit. He is set to earn $3.44MM over the course of his four-year deal, which includes a $145K signing bonus.
The Titans inked fifth-round pick Larrell Murchison, per a club announcement. Murchison, an NC State product, made a name for himself as a disruptor on the defensive line after transferring over from a JUCO program.