The Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed former Colts outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome, who was released earlier this offseason.
The Colts released Newsome following a disappointing 2015 campaign and a February arrest for possession of marijuana. He later had his charges dropped (and dabbed in celebration), but that didn't lead to the Colts bringing him back. That's because Newsome's release was very likely in large part due to his play on the field and that the arrest was simply the final straw. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ball State, Newsome flourished in his rookie season as he recorded 28 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 16 games (starting one), while he added another sack and forced fumble in the postseason. The hopes were high for him entering 2015, but he instead was nearly invisible. He played in 14 games (two starts) and recorded 19 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and two passes defensed.
The Roughriders announced Newsome as a defensive lineman, meaning that he'll be able to rush the passer from a more traditional defensive end role than the 3-4 outside linebacker role he was filling in Indianapolis. Maybe it will work out better for him, but either way it's a signing worth making for the Roughriders and for Newsome.
Newsome isn't the first former Colts player to head north of the border this offseason, as former Colts wide receiver Duron Carter headed back to the CFL in January by signing with the Montreal Allouettes. As for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they are the former team of former Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, one of Ryan Grigson's first and best free agent signings. Freeman was a standout player for the Roughriders before the Colts signed him in 2012, and he became a very productive four-year starter for the team before signing with the Chicago Bears this offseason.