On Tuesday afternoon, the Patriots took care of the first piece of business of the offseason. The team announced the signing of 11 practice squad players to future contracts for the 2023 season.
Future contracts are a device that allows NFL teams to maintain practice squad players into the following season. When a team’s season ends – as the Patriots’ did on Sunday – all practice squad players become free agents who are free to sign immediately instead of waiting for the new league year in March. At the same time, the NFL roster limit doesn’t increase to 90 players until that new league year, so if a team wants to keep players from the practice squad prior to March, it would have to open up a spot on the 53-man roster.
Instead, it can sign players to a future contract, which is basically an agreement that a new contract – typically a minimum-money deal – will begin once the new league year does. This way, teams get to keep players they want to continue to work with, and players get job security without waiting multiple waves into free agency to sign, as well as getting to remain a part of an NFL team and getting access to the things that come with it.