At this point in the offseason, before free agency is in full force, and still a couple of months out from the draft, it’s a good time to do a deep dive into the more obscure players already under roster control before things really heat up. And, there are no more obscure players than those signed to reserve/future contracts. First, a refresher on what reserve/future contracts are:
It’s the same as a regular active-roster contract, with the regular rules for minimum veteran salaries, cap charges, signing bonuses, etc. The only difference is that it doesn’t take effect until the start of the next League Year.
Teams can sign players to futures contracts as soon as the previous regular season is over, but the contract won’t count against the salary cap or 53-man limit. Instead, it’ll count against the salary cap and 90-man camp limit of the following season.
These guys are basically the beginning of the back-end of the 90 man roster, slated to compete against drafted rookies and undrafted free agents for the last 2-3 slots on the 53-man roster and the totality of the practice squad.
Many of these players themselves were once late round draft picks or previously undrafted. Some of them were even profiled here previously on Hogs Haven. In fact, it was a recent re-discovery that I had profiled Jordan Brown before the 2019 draft that ignited interest in doing this article.
What follows below are brief vignettes of defensive and special teams players currently under reserve/future contracts with the WFT, as well as links to additional background information:
DeMarkus Acy (CB) - After the 2020 draft, Acy was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers. Acy had 3 interceptions and 10 pass break ups his final season at Missouri, specializing in zone coverage with an ability to use his size (6’2”, 195lbs) in man coverage.
Torry McTyer (CB) - McTyer was signed out of UNLV by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 draft. Son of former NFL player Tim McTyer, Torry, though a little small (5’11”) has blazing speed (4.3). He was also an effective kick returner in college.
Jordan Brown (DB) - Brown is a converted WR out of South Dakota State who had a great Combine and was taken by the Bengals in the 7th round of the 2019 draft. Pre-draft reports indicated that Brown had the capability to start as a slot nickel corner, with a strength in zone coverage.
Jalen Jelks had the most stops in run-defense among Pac-12 Edge defenders this season. pic.twitter.com/m14J6W18Ie— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 28, 2019
Jalen Jelks (DE) - Jelks was profiled here before the 2019 draft, and was selected by the Cowboys in the 7th round of the draft. Jelks was lined up as a 3-4 defensive end at Oregon, and was really too small (250 lbs) to play the role as effectively as possible. In the NFL, he projects as a 4-3 DE with a specialty in run defense.
Devaroe Lawrence (DT) Lawrence, out of Auburn, was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Saints after the 2017 draft. Compared to multi-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins by his defensive line coach in college, Lawrence was described as a player “whose production never matched his potential.”
Daniel Wise (DT) - Wise was another player profiled here before the 2019 draft. He went undrafted, but was picked up by the Cowboys. When he came out in the draft, there was speculation he had been misused at Kansas, and should have been playing as a 3 technique. Washington could seem to be a good scheme fit, where Wise’s pass rushing prowess could be an exciting addition to an already impressive line.
Justin Phillips (LB) - Phillips was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys after the 2019 draft. He played middle linebacker for Oklahoma State in college, and was named team captain his senior year. His size (6’0”, 230lbs) is less than ideal for the pros and his technique needs work, but he could potentially be an asset on special teams.
Kaare Vedvik (K/P) - Vedvik was picked up by the Ravens after the 2018 draft and parlayed masterfully by them. Obviously Vedvik wasn’t going to unseat future HOF kicker Justin Tucker, but the Ravens showcased Vedvik sufficiently that they were able to trade him to the Vikings for a 5th round pick. That didn’t stop the Vikings from waiving him before the 2019 season. Vedvik has since spent time on four more teams. Regardless, Vedvik’s ability to kick or punt in a pinch make him an interesting asset to keep on the team, particularly if he has a chance to compete against Dustin Hopkins.
Which of these players do you think is most likely to make the 53 man roster this year?
This poll is closed
DeMarkus Acy (CB)
Torry McTyer (CB)
Jordan Brown (DB)
Jalen Jelks (DE)
Devaroe Lawrence (DT)
Daniel Wise (DT)
Justin Phillips (LB)
Kaare Vedvik (P/K)
None of them.