As training camp is well underway in Arlington, the Houston Roughnecks are making key decisions leading up to the season opener in a few weeks. One of the more notable developments was the team making the first trade of the 2023 XFL season, doing so with division rival San Antonio Brahmas. They have also continued to bring in free agents, while simultaneously letting others go to maintain balance. In this article, all of the recent moves will be covered, with more expected in the coming days and weeks.
To start, the Roughnecks dealt wide receiver Darece Roberson Jr. to the Brahmas in exchange for cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. Roberson, a Division II standout at Wayne State, had stints with both the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. He later signed with the Toronto Argonauts up in the CFL, but was unable to make the final roster there as well due to his position on the depth chart. Roberson was likely competing for the starting returner job on special teams with a handful of others, and could easily find himself in the same role over in San Antonio.
Vincent, the player who the Roughnecks acquired, has already been traded once in the NFL. He played college football at LSU, winning the national championship in 2019 and going on to become a seventh-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos two years later. As a rookie, Vincent was flipped to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft. He was most recently listed as a member of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, being released at the end of September.
In other news, there has been another small wave of player transactions. Starting with the cuts, four players are no longer listed on the Roughnecks official roster (via the XFL website). That list is as follows:
WR Jake Herslow
WR Chris Booker
CB Kevin Toliver
OT Shaquille Morris
Herslow played at the University of Houston last season, and despite having a “feel good” story, will look to continue his XFL career somewhere else for now. Brooks went under the radar due to being signed as a free agent after the initial draft in November (and was not covered in my own draft pieces as a result), but has plenty of experience coming out of Big 10 powerhouse Ohio State. The former Dayton transfer briefly spent time with the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason.
The release of Toliver is somewhat ironic, since the team brought in another LSU corner almost immediately afterwards to take his spot. However, it isn’t terribly surprising given how competitive the secondary is becoming. Finally, there is Shaquille Morris, the basketball center turned offensive lineman who landed in the XFL with help from the NFL Alumni Academy. As was stated in the supplemental draft/free agency article, Morris had an uphill battle from the start, and the likelihood of a spot being available for him was minimal.
As four more players have now departed, two new players have arrived to take up some of the available space, which does not include Kary Vincent Jr. Those two new players are listed here:
DB Coby Tippett
WR Tavonn Salter
The first addition could ring a bell to New England Patriots fans, as safety Coby Tippett is the son of Hall of Fame outside linebacker Andre Tippett. The younger Tippett actually appeared in the Patriots’ rookie minicamp earlier in 2022, after splitting time in college between Towson (2017-2019) and Rhode Island (2020-2021). The Roughnecks were able to pick him up after his release from the Arlington Renegades. Wideout Tavonn Salter reported to camp yesterday morning, and previously played under offensive coordinator AJ Smith in The Spring League (TSL) during the 2021 season. The Middle Tennessee State product also had a stint with the Atlanta Falcons earlier in his career.
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