In the days following Sunday’s games, you will hear a lot about teams, including the Jets signing players to reserve/future contracts. Here is a refresher on what that means.
Teams are allowed to bring 90 players to training camp.
The new NFL year does not begin until March 9, 2017. That is the point at which teams are allowed to start signing players, but the league has built an exception by allowing teams to sign current free agents to reserve/future contracts.
When a player signs such a deal, he is signing with a team for a season that has not begun yet. That is the reason for the name.
Again, teams can sign players who are currently free agents. What does that mean? We are not talking about guys like Geno Smith and Brian Winters who will be free agents after the season ends. Those players are under contracts, which technically run until March 9, 2017.
We are talking about players who are currently not on an NFL active roster. That includes practice squad players since the practice squad dissolves after the team’s season ends. (Playoff teams still keep a practice squad until they are eliminated, though.)
Playoff teams are allowed to sign players to reserve/future deals, but those players aren’t allowed to compete for the team until next season. That’s why you won’t see Playoff teams sign their practice squad players to reserve/future deals until they are eliminated.
So you will likely see the Jets and other teams immediately sign their practice squad players to reserve/future contracts. They aren’t limited to that, however. They could sign the practice squad players on other teams and street free agents as well.
The players signed will mainly sound like camp bodies because that is what they are for the most part. Remember, these are players who were deemed not good enough for a roster spot at the end of the regular season. Still, there are always diamonds in the rough, and every year you hear about a few players shining who originally signed a reserve/future contract with their team.