Shortly after the season, the NFL teams sign players who usually manned their practice squad to future/reserve contracts which puts them on the roster before the start of the new league year. The contracts are used to keep players from signing with other teams during the offseason. To be eligible for this kind of contract, a player cannot be on an active roster after Week 17 of the NFL season.
Future/Reserve contracts are rarely worth anything more than minimum deals. Most players who know they would make an NFL roster would not bother signing one. However, for a large number of players a future/reserve contract is a guaranteed chance to compete for a roster in training camp.
The Buffalo Bills have taken advantage of future/reserve contracts in the past signing players such as Dean Marlowe in 2018, Duke Williams in 2019, and Tyrel Dodson in 2020. While none of those players became stars for the Buffalo Bills they all had solid contributions at some point in the following season. Future/reserve contracts will not make or break your team but it is a really good way to develop players into really solid depth players on your 53-man roster.
This offseason the Buffalo Bills signed these thirteen players to Future/Reserve contracts:
QB Davis Webb, RB Antonio Williams, RB Christian Wade (IPPP), WR Tanner Gentry, WR Jake Kumerow, WR Duke Williams, TE Nate Becker, OT Trey Adams*, DE Bryan Cox Jr., DE Mike Love, DT Brandin Bryant, CB Dane Jackson, and S Josh Thomas.
*Trey Adams announced on April 15th per his Instagram account that he was retiring from football.
I take a closer look at each player and make a prediction of where they will be for the 2021 season.