Quintez Cephus

Bills Sign S Dee Delaney, Release WR Quintez Cephus

The Bills have added depth to their secondary while giving their special teams a boost. The team announced on Thursday that safety Dee Delaney has been signed.

The 29-year-old began his career with one-year stints in Jacksonville and Washington. During that span, Delaney appeared in only three games, and he was all-but exclusively used on special teams. After seeing sparse defensive playing time with those teams (and spending brief tenures on the Dolphins’ practice squad and the Jets’ offseason roster in between), though, he found a home in Tampa Bay.

Delaney joined the Buccaneers in 2021, and in his first campaign with the team he played over 200 defensive snaps – a notable increase from the four he had previously logged. The former UDFA again saw most of his action come in the third phase, and that continued the following season. Last year, though, Delaney took on a rotational role in the Bucs’ secondary, seeing two starts. He notched career highs in interceptions (two) and pass deflections (five) while making 25 tackles.

Buffalo released Jordan Poyer as part of the team’s cost-cutting moves this offseason. His longtime running mate at the safety spot (Micah Hyde) is unsigned, and his playing future remains in doubt. The Bills brought in Mike Edwards during free agency and re-signed Taylor Rapp before selecting Cole Bishop in the second round of the draft. Delaney will therefore have plenty of competition for playing time in his latest home.

In a corresponding move, wideout Quintez Cephus has been released. The former Lion was signed last month in a deal which followed his reinstatement from a gambling suspension. That seemed to put Cephus on track for a rotational spot in the team’s receiver room, but Buffalo signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling earlier this week. Cephus, 26, will now return to free agency and attempt to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

Bills Sign WR Quintez Cephus

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who was cut by the Lions last year — immediately after the NFL handed him an indefinite suspension for violating its gambling policy — was reinstated earlier this month. Cephus now has a new employer, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that the Wisconsin product has agreed to sign with the Bills.

After trading Stefon Diggs to the Texans and allowing Gabriel Davis to depart in free agency, Buffalo had a major need to fill at wide receiver going into this weekend’s draft (despite having added Curtis Samuel to its WR room). The club was linked to a blockbuster trade for 49ers star Deebo Samuel before the second round of the draft got underway, and it ultimately landed Florida State wideout Keon Coleman with the first pick of Round 2.

A Deebo Samuel trade no longer appears likely (at least not in the immediate future). And while the Coleman selection and the Cephus signing may not entirely silence the chatter that the Bills need to add more receiving talent, the fact that the team did not pull off a major deal for a player of Deebo Samuel’s caliber does give Cephus a seemingly decent chance of cracking the roster.

Now 26, Cephus was selected by Detroit in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He caught 20 passes for 349 yards as a rookie and 15 balls for 204 yards in 2021, scoring two TDs in each season. He spent much of the 2022 campaign on IR but had one more year remaining on his rookie deal when the Lions cut him.

Cephus will compete for reps with the likes of fellow offseason pickups Mack Hollins and KJ Hamler and 2023 fifth-rounder Justin Shorter in support of the presumptive starting trio of Khalil Shakir, Coleman, and Curtis Samuel.

NFL Reinstates Five Players Banned For Gambling

Last year’s round of gambling suspensions affected a few teams’ starting lineups, but a handful of depth-level players also received significant suspensions for violating the NFL’s betting policy. Five players from this group will have a chance to resume their careers.

The NFL is reinstating Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney, along with veteran special-teamer C.J. Moore, wide receiver Quintez Cephus, linebacker Rashod Berry and defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor. None of the five played last year due to indefinite suspensions that covered at least one season in length. Moore, Cephus, Berry and Taylor are currently free agents.

Cephus, Moore and Toney were part of the initial wave of suspensions — a development headlined by Jameson Williams‘ six-game suspension — last April. Cephus and Moore lost their jobs as a result. Isaiah Rodgers headlined the Colts’ suspensions, but Berry was also banned for at least a season. Indianapolis waived both players. Rodgers, now with the Eagles, has not been reinstated.

The Lions released Moore, a four-year special teams contributor, despite having re-signed him in March 2023. Cephus, who has been a rotational wide receiver under Matt Patricia and Dan Campbell, hit the waiver wire. Of the contingent reinstated Thursday, Cephus has delivered the most early-career production. As a rookie in 2020, the former fifth-round Lions draftee caught 20 passes for 349 yards. He was at 15-204 in 2021, scoring four touchdowns in that span. Cephus, 26, spent much of the 2022 season on IR but had one more season remaining on his rookie deal at the time the Lions cut him.

Drafted in the seventh round during Ron Rivera‘s time with Washington, Toney totaled 1.5 sacks as a rookie but none during a 16-game 2022 season. For his career, Toney has played just 169 defensive snaps. He served as a special teams regular for the Commanders in 2022, however. With Dan Quinn taking over, it is worth wondering if the rebuilding team will keep Toney onboard.

Taylor joined Cephus and Moore in having been with the Lions in 2022. With an apparent communication breakdown transpiring in Detroit, the Lions axed multiple staffers amid this gambling scandal. The NFL tweaked its gambling policy last fall, which allowed for quicker returns for players given a six-game ban for betting on non-NFL games while on team grounds.

This adjustment did not impact the five players reinstated Thursday, as each was popped for betting on NFL games. Rodgers’ betting scheme was quite elaborate, so it will be interesting to see if the league greenlights the young cornerback’s return this year. It appears the Eagles had hoped to see the league reinstate Rodgers today, as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane indicates they were monitoring today for a potential re-emergence. But Rodgers’ indefinite ban persists.

NFL’s Gambling Investigation Into Lions Continues

Three of the four Lions hit with gambling suspensions in April are no longer on the roster. The team waived wide receivers Quintez Cephus and Stanley Berryhill and released special-teamer C.J. Moore, who re-signed in March. But the Lions’ gambling issue is not entirely in the rearview mirror, it appears.

The NFL is investigating a fifth Lions player for a potential violation of the league’s gambling policy, Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic reports (subscription required). The league has not yet interviewed the unknown player, but seeing as the Lions have cut three players and fired multiple staffers for violations of the policy, it is safe to say this is a widespread issue within the NFC North franchise.

The one player remaining on the roster after a gambling ban, Jameson Williams, said he was not aware he was breaking an NFL rule by placing a bet on a non-NFL game at a Lions facility. Williams and Berryhill incurred six-game suspensions for making bets on non-NFL games while at the Lions’ facility (or while with the team on the road), Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Cephus, Moore and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney received indefinite suspensions, which will cover at least one full season, for betting on NFL games.

It hit me out of the blue, and it hit a couple other players around the league and on my team out of the blue,” Williams said, via Birkett. “I wasn’t aware of this situation, but as it happened, like I said, I took it on the chin, I was ready to move forward as things moved on and I got the consequences, so that’s been my whole plan moving forward from things and just looking at the better days.”

In addition to a potential fifth Lions player being suspended, ESPN.com’s David Perdum reports the NFL is conducting an investigation into more gambling violations. 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.

In the time since the Supreme Court’s ruling, seven players have been popped for gambling policy violations. Defensive back Josh Shaw and wideout Calvin Ridley served indefinite suspensions, with Ridley being recently reinstated. Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin also received a gambling ban. Following the April bans, the NFLPA sent an email to agents reminding of the league’s policy preventing bets on mobile apps while at team facilities, Perdum adds.

As for the Lions, they will be without Williams — last year’s No. 12 overall pick who missed most of his rookie season due to ACL rehab — for six games and may soon see another player suspended. This issue has affected Detroit most, and cleanup measures regarding NFL policy comprehension and messaging has almost definitely taken place there. But the NFL investigation could soon see more teams impacted on this front.

NFL Suspends Lions WR Jameson Williams For Gambling; Four Others Banned

A year after Calvin Ridley drew an indefinite suspension for gambling, the NFL will ban another prominent wide receiver. Jameson Williams received a suspension for violating the NFL’s betting policy, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport confirms (Twitter link).

The NFL also suspended Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus for gambling. Williams will be sidelined six games, according to the Lions. The Lions have since waived Cephus and released safety C.J. Moore, whom the league also hit with a suspension. The NFL also suspended Lions wideout Stanley Berryhill and Commanders edge rusher Shaka Toney, Rapoport reports.

Cephus and Moore received indefinite suspensions, which will cover at least the 2023 season. A former fifth-round Lions pick, Cephus had been with the team since 2020. Moore resided as a core Lions special-teamer over the past four seasons.

Williams and Berryhill remain with the Lions. Berryhill joined the 2022 first-round pick in drawing a six-game ban. Toney, a 2021 seventh-round Washington draftee, received an indefinite suspension. Toney remains with the Commanders.

As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy,” Lions GM Brad Holmes said. “These players exhibited decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision-making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”

This obviously represents a bad look for the two franchises and the NFL, coming not long after the league reinstated Ridley from his year-long suspension. The league’s policy permits players to bet on sports — just not NFL games — but prevents player bets while in team facilities. The NFL did not find the four Lions or Toney used inside information, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter), but Friday’s news still stands to alter the Lions’ plans at wide receiver. Williams and Berryhill made mobile bets on non-NFL sporting events while in the Lions’ facility, Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com adds.

The Lions traded up 20 spots to draft Williams 12th overall last year, doing so despite the Alabama-developed speedster suffering a torn ACL in the previous national championship game. Williams missed 11 games last season and caught just one pass — a 41-yard touchdown — upon returning; the Lions used their rehabbing receiver sparingly. But Williams was set to be a key component of the Lions’ 2023 offense. Those plans are on hold. Williams and Berryhill will be permitted to participate in offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games, per NFL rules, but the receivers will then be shut down until Week 7.

Additionally, the Lions fired several staffers last month for violating the gambling policy, Woodyard reports. The Lions first learned of the NFL’s investigation in March. The staffers’ dismissals coupled with the four player suspensions point to a widespread problem — regarding rule awareness at the very least — among the Lions here. Williams’ agency indicates (via Rapoport) the second-year wideout accepts responsibility for his infraction but notes the penalty stems from an otherwise-legal bet — just one that took place on team property. Players are also prohibited from making bets on team planes or in hotels on the road.

For decades, the NFL featured a short list of players banned for gambling policy violations. That number has grown substantially over the past four years. Friday’s news runs the number of NFL players suspended for gambling to seven since 2019, following Ridley and defensive back Josh Shaw. Ridley is on track to return to action as a Jaguar; Shaw never played again after his ban.

A former UDFA, Berryhill played four games for the Lions last season. Toney served as a backup pass rusher in 16 with the Commanders in 2022. He did not record a sack last season but registered 1.5 as a rookie in 2021. Toney’s future with the NFC East team should certainly be considered in doubt. Should Toney be back with the Commanders in 2024, two years will still remain on his rookie contract. This suspension will lead to the deal tolling.

As for the Lions, their receiver situation suddenly looks quite different. Williams was set to join Amon-Ra St. Brown and the recently reacquired Marvin Jones as the team’s top receivers. Josh Reynolds also remains under contract. The Lions signed Jones on March 29; it is fair to wonder if the NFL’s investigation into Williams and Cephus played a part in that move. Of course, the Lions re-signed Moore on March 18; the organization clearly learned of this investigation after that date. Cephus joined Berryhill in only playing in four games last season, but the three-year veteran represented depth for a position group that lost DJ Chark this offseason.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders 

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/7/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ellefson came off IR just last week and did not play in the Vikings’ matchup against the Jets. A nagging groin injury will send the third-year tight end back to IR. Although the new IR rules allow for players to be activated twice from IR, Minnesota’s injury-return math may come into play by the time Ellefson’s second activation window opens (Week 18).

In Darden, Browns snagged the NFL’s punt-return yards leader. The 2021 Bucs fourth-rounder has not seen much action on offense, with Tampa Bay oozing experience at the receiver position. But he has been Tampa Bay’s primary punt returner. Darden has totaled 330 punt-return yards this season. A 2021 third-round pick, Schwartz sustained a concussion that has sent him to IR. Ragland has spent the past month on the Raiders’ taxi squad. The Browns are the former second-round pick’s fifth team in four seasons; the ex-Jets draftee was with the Chiefs, Lions and Giants from 2019-21. After losing Anthony Walker and Jacob Phillips earlier this year, the Browns moved Sione Takitaki to IR with an ACL tear this week.

A rotational cog for the Saints, Colts and Chiefs during his five-year career, Stallworth played only 14% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps this season. He committed a third-down roughing-the-passer penalty during a Bengals touchdown drive in Week 13. The Texans had already used one of their injury activations on Dwumfour; the 1-10-1 team has three remaining. Greenard, who led the 2021 Texans with eight sacks, has been on the shelf since going down with a calf injury in an October practice.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/8/22

Here are the roster moves for today, leading into gameday tomorrow. Reminder that gameday elevations will revert to the practice squad after this weekend’s games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/20/21

A long list of players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. We listed the players who landed on the list today, as well as those who were activated off the list:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DE John Franklin-Myers, DB Sharrod Neasman

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team