Shortly after it was announced that the Indianapolis Colts will sign free agent wide receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal worth $10M, with another $3M in incentives, Stephen Holder shared that Chris Ballard will be tendering restricted free agent wide receiver Chester Rogers. This move not only brings a familiar face back to catch passes from Andrew Luck, it also means Indianapolis keeps its punt returner on the roster.
I can confirm the Colts have agreed to a one-year deal with WR Devin Funchess.— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) March 11, 2019
Additionally, they will be tendering an offer to restricted free agent Chester Rogers. So, two dominoes fall for Colts at the WR position.
In three seasons, Rogers has tallied 95 receptions for 1,042 yards and 3 touchdowns. While he was not heavily used as a rookie in 2016, Rogers showed signs of building trust with Luck and had a knack for turning short passes into bigger gains. That same season, Rogers had a career best 14.4 yards per reception on 19 catches. In 2018, his second season with Luck, Rogers caught 53 passes and was used heavily on wide receiver screen plays. This new role resulted in a very short 9.2 yard average per reception.
As a punt returner, Rogers has fielded 46 punts and averaged 9.0 yards per return over three seasons. He has only fumbled twice. He has had at least two would-be touchdowns called back due to penalties. Last season, his average of 9.4 yards per return would rank him 11th in the NFL.
There was a time that Chester Rogers took the Colts fan base by storm. As an undrafted free agent, he not only made the team but never displayed fear in the face of the big lights or looked out of place on the big stage of the NFL. Perhaps he can improve with another year in Frank Reich’s system and with Luck under center.
The moves at wide receiver today create a projected WR room that includes T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Chester Rogers, Deon Cain, Marcus Johnson, Reece Fountain and likely Zach Pascal. At minimum, it removes pressure to feel forced into taking an early wide receiver prospect in the draft.