The Detroit Lions announced on Tuesday afternoon that they have signed 11 players to futures contracts for the 2024 offseason. All 11 of the players signed finished the season on the Lions practice squad, and many were with the team for the entire season.
Here’s a look at those 11 players re-signed to the Lions 2024 roster:
- RB Jermar Jefferson
- RB Jake Funk
- WR Tom Kennedy
- WR Maurice Alexander
- OT Connor Galvin
- OL Matt Faronik
- IOL Michael Niese
- DT Chris Smith
- EDGE Mitchell Agude
- CB Craig James
- S Brandon Joseph
In the offseason, teams are allowed to expand their active rosters to 90 players, but the rosters technically do not expand until the start of the league's new year, which coincides with the opening of free agency on March 13 in 2024.
While players currently on team’s 53-man rosters remain under contract and can’t sign with another team until mid-March, players on practice squads see their contracts expire seven days after their team completes its season. That means the players on the Lions 2023-24 practice squad were set to become “street free agents” (available to sign a contract immediately) in less than a week.
In order to help teams retain talent they have been developing on the practice squad, the NFL allows teams to sign “street free agents” to “futures contracts” once their season is complete.
A “futures contract” means the team holds the rights to a player, but the player does not count towards the active roster until the start of the league new year in March, when the roster expands to 90 players. At that time, their contract activates to the roster.
The Lions still have time to offer futures contracts to additional “street free agents”, but it’s worth taking note that there were six practice squad members who were not signed at this time, all veterans who may want to test the free agency market: QB David Blough, FB Jason Cabinda,
WR Daurice Fountain, TE Zach Ertz, OL Michael Schofield, and EDGE Julian Okwara. International player Max Pircher will likely return to the League’s developmental program.
UPDATE: Lions announced on Wednesday that they have signed wide receiver Daurice Fountain to a futures contract.