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Falcons ink QB Kurt Benkert, WR Chris Rowland and 9 others to reserve/future deals

That’s a good chunk of the practice squad who will be kicking around if the next regime wants them on the roster.

Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons are busy with a head coach and general manager search, but they still found the time to sign 11 players to reserve/future contracts. For a team with some tricky cap navigation to come and a need for quality depth across the roster, these contracts might end up being impactful.

Per the team’s announcement, they’ve brought back these 11 players:

  • QB Kurt Benkert
  • RB Tony Brooks-James
  • WR Greg Dortch
  • WR Chris Rowland
  • OL Willie Wright
  • OL Willie Beavers
  • DT Chris Slayton
  • DB Chris Williamson
  • DB Delrick Abrams Jr.
  • DB T.J. Green
  • K Elliott Fry

There are plenty of interesting names on this list. Benkert has been the team’s nominal third quarterback for a while now, and could hold that role again this year, with a chance of taking the backup job outright if the incoming regime doesn’t draft a quarterback. Brooks-James, Dortch and Rowland are all potential competitors for returner gigs in 2021, as that’s been an unsettled role in recent seasons and all three have the ability. Wright and Beavers will hope to hang on for reserve roles on an offensive line with little depth under contract, while Slayton, Williamson and Abrams will try for roles on what’s likely to be a re-tooling defense. Fry could compete with Koo in camp, assuming he stays on and the Falcons make re-signing the Pro Bowl kicker a priority, but that’s not a competition he’s going to win.

As a reminder, reserve/future contracts are the same as any other contract, meaning these will effectively be veteran minimum deals for these players. It’s just that none of them hit the books until the start of the new league year, which gives the incoming regime some time to evaluate this group and see who they might want in Atlanta competing for jobs over the summer. It would be no great surprise to see half or more of this list in Atlanta in March and beyond, with a handful holding on and pushing for practice squad spots or roster spots even with a new front office and coaching staff coming to town.