Houston Roughnecks Re-Sign Isaiah Chambers, Claim Carlo Kemp

Houston Roughnecks Re-Shuffle Roster After Poor Start

The Houston Roughnecks made several roster moves following their week three loss to the Michigan Panthers at Ford Field. Obviously, the beginning of the season hasn’t gone the way Houston thought or hoped, so they’re looking to be proactive and turn things around. In addition, they’ve also lost a couple key players for an extended period. Let’s take a look at the Roughnecks’ shakeup.

WR Steven Dunbar Jr.

The Roughnecks waived both wide receiver Steven Dunbar Jr. and cornerback Jeremiah Johnson on Monday night. Dunbar Jr. was a non-factor through the first two weeks of the season but made a nice 19-yard reception against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Despite looking good and making a solid first impression, 24 hours later, Dunbar is a free agent. Prior to joining the Roughnecks, Dunbar played his college ball at the University of Houston. After going undrafted, he spent time on the San Fransico 49ers and Denver Broncos. He then had a short stint with the Renegades in XFL 2020 before spending the next three years in the CFL, where he performed well. We may see him jump back to the CFL after his short UFL tenure.

CB Jeremiah Johnson

Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson was cut in a move that directly correlates to the return of cornerback Kiondre Thomas from the suspended list. Johnson had two tackles in Sunday’s contest and three overall this season. He was released by Houston during their training camp cutdowns but found his way back on the roster a few days later. Prior to this season, Johnson spent the last two years with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL. He posted 55 tackles and two interceptions during that time. Johnson also played for the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL’s 2020 season and the Salt Lake Stallions in the AAF. With nearly five years of spring football experience, it seems Johnson will find a home somewhere.

CB Kiondre Thomas

Kiondre Thomas returns to the Houston Roughnecks following his alleged suspension on March 19th. The move was never publicly announced by the team or league, but Houston clearly wanted him back badly enough to release a solid veteran like Jeremiah Johnson. Thomas spent his time at college with the University of Minnesota from 2016-2019, and his final year at Kansas State. He went undrafted and bounced from the Cleveland Browns to the Los Angeles Chargers, and finally the Green Bay Packers for two seasons. He has a fumble recovery and one lone tackle in his NFL career. This’ll be his first spring football action. The secondary will definitely be bolstered by adding more NFL-level talent.

DT Olive Sagapolu

Defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu was placed on the injured reserve list Monday night after sustaining a torn bicep in Sunday’s game against the Panthers. Sagapolu spent the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Maulers where he totaled 50 tackles and five sacks. He along with defensive end Boogie Roberts helped anchor a fantastic interior on a great defense in the USFL. Spring football fans will remember his near-amazing play in the 2023 USFL Championship where he picked up an Alex McGough fumble and attempted to hand it off to his teammate for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the play was overturned due to a forward lateral. Hopefully Sagapolu heals quickly and is back with Houston in 2025.

DT Jeffery Johnson

Defensive tackle Jeffery Johnson is back with the Roughnecks after being released in training camp earlier this year. Last season Johnson spent time with the Houston Gamblers in the USFL where he appeared in four games and finished with four tackles. Prior to that, he was at Tulane University for four seasons and started 45 games on the defensive line. He then played his final year at Oklahoma, appearing in a total of 13 games. He totaled eight sacks and 159 tackles in his five collegiate seasons. With Sagapolu’s season-ending injury, Johnson gets a second shot in the UFL.

DE Carlo Kemp

Defensive end Carlo Kemp has left the Houston Roughnecks for personal reasons. It’s been speculated that Kemp is potentially mulling over retirement, as well. Kemp has spent a lot of time on NFL rosters, jumping from multiple practice squads that include the Packers, Broncos, and Chargers. Kemp was phenomenal for the Pittsburgh Maulers in 2022, where he led their defense with five sacks. His performance that season led to an extended stay with the Chargers where he was until signing with the Birmingham Stallions this offseason. He was waived during the Stallions’ final roster cuts of training camp and was immediately claimed by the Roughnecks. If we’ve seen the last of Kemp on the football field, he left his mark without question.

Final Thoughts

The Roughnecks are 0-3 right now but not giving up. Look for more roster moves in the coming days or weeks with Houston doing their best to right the ship. Their defense will be missing a couple key pieces but they hope their newly signed players will add extra energy and production to the team.

What are your thoughts on these roster moves for the Houston Roughnecks? Will Kiondre Thomas make an impact in the secondary? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!