Another name in the NFL’s gambling crosshairs has dropped. The league will hand a six-game suspension to Titans tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere for violating the gambling policy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
A third-round Titans draftee last year, Petit-Frere became the team’s starting right tackle as a rookie. Petit-Frere said in a statement he did not gamble on NFL games but admitted to violating the betting policy. His betting on non-NFL games from a team facility will induce the six-game ban.
This comes a day after Schefter reported other players, in addition to Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, were targets in the league’s gambling probe. This is the first mention of Petit-Frere, however, in connection with gambling. Rodgers is set to draw a season-long ban for making bets on NFL games. Expanding what is becoming a widespread issue for the NFL, Petit-Frere is the seventh known player popped for a 2023 gambling violation.
This suspension is consistent with the bans handed to Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams and former Detroit wideout Stanley Berryhill. While other since-cut Lions — and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney — were hit with indefinite suspensions for betting on NFL games, Williams and Berryhill were found to have bet on other sports from team grounds.
Chosen 69th overall out of Ohio State last year, Petit-Frere won the Titans’ starting tackle job in training camp. He started 16 games as a rookie, during a season in which Tennessee’s offensive line endured a rash of injuries. By season’s end, longtime starters Taylor Lewan, Ben Jones and Nate Davis were on IR; Petit-Frere and guard Aaron Brewer were the only first-string blockers left standing. The team has since cut Lewan and Jones; Davis signed with the Bears in free agency. Petit-Frere and Brewer are ticketed to stick as starters, but the Titans will need to make other plans at right tackle to start the season.
Pro Football Focus did not view Petit-Frere’s rookie year fondly, grading the former Big Ten blocker 74th among tackles last season. The Titans have also gone through some issues staffing their right tackle spot in recent years; this adds to a growing list.
Since the team passed on Jack Conklin‘s fifth-year option, it has not enjoyed continuity at the position. After Conklin left for Cleveland in 2020, the Titans drafted Isaiah Wilson in the first round. Wilson became a spectacular bust, playing all of four NFL plays, and lasted one season in Tennessee. The Titans then drafted North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz in the 2021 second round. Radunz has been unable to win the right tackle job, losing the camp competition to Petit-Frere. Radunz could find himself back in the mix for the role, but the Titans’ offseason retooling effort up front now will include a right tackle change as well.
This move also could affect where the Titans station first-round pick Peter Skoronski. Viewed as a guard by most evaluators, the Northwestern prospect played only tackle while in college. He worked at both tackle and guard during the Titans’ offseason program. Sixth-rounder Jaelyn Duncan and swingman Jamarco Jones also loom a potential stopgap options, in case the Titans view Skoronski as a guard. The team also may look for a veteran. Dennis Kelly, who started for the team in 2020, is unattached. Though, George Fant, a three-year Jets starter, probably represents the top available option. Marcus Cannon, Ja’Wuan James and Chris Hubbard are also available.
Tennessee’s O-line will now roll out four new starters to open the season. Brewer is expected to shift to center to replace Jones, but new pieces will comprise the rest of the group. The Titans signed left tackle Andre Dillard in free agency, with ex-49ers exec-turned-GM Ran Carthon adding former San Francisco guard Daniel Brunskill as well. Another new blocker will now be in line to follow Dillard, Brunskill and Skoronski as a Titans starter — health permitting — in Week 1.