As the 2014 season drew to a close last week, Thomas Dimitroff's future with the organization seemed uncertain at best. Dimitroff did retain his job, and he's moving forward with his responsibilities, signing several players to futures contracts with the Falcons over the last few days.
At first glance, it appears that all of the players who were on Atlanta's practice squad at the end of the season have been signed to futures contracts by the Falcons. Defensive back Brandan Bishop, tackle Reid Fragel, defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli, defensive back Jordan Mabin, wide receiver Freddie Martino, tight end Kyle Miller, wide receiver Bernard Reedy, guard Adam Replogle, linebacker Jacques Smith and running back Ronnie Wingo all signed futures contracts with the Falcons, per NFL Trade Rumors. Tight end Mickey Shuler, who has bounced around a bit and has spent time in Atlanta previously, was also signed to a futures contract.
There are many promising young players on this list, and the Falcons have already invested time and resources into the development of all of them, so these are logical moves. What is a futures contract, you may ask? It's a way for the Falcons to lock up players with potential prior to the start of the new league year. The only players who are eligible to receive futures contracts are players who were not on any team's active roster at the close of the 2014 season, so it's exclusively limited to practice squad players and free agents. The Falcons clearly have some level of confidence in all of the players on their practice squad at the end of the 2014 season.
There are some former Falcons who have been signed to futures contracts with other teams. Wide receiver Kevin Cone will get a shot with the Browns, tackle Cameron Bradfield signed a futures contract with the Cardinals, defensive back Peyton Thompson signed with the Jaguars and linebacker Yawin Smallwood will head into camp with the Titans.
Weigh in on the futures contracts. Which players do you believe are the most promising?