Cardinals Sign Ex-Steelers RB & 14 Others to Futures Contracts

Jaylen Samuels

Getty Images Jaylen Samuels reacts after a first down against the Colts in 2019.

The Arizona Cardinals didn’t take long on working towards the 2022 season after losing to the Rams in the Wild Card round 34-11 on Monday.

On January 19, the Cardinals signed 15 players to future contracts. Here is the full list of signings via the Cardinals Twitter account:

With the exception of running back Jaylen Samuels and tight end Deon Yelder, each player was on the Cardinals’ active roster or practice squad this season.

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The signings are called futures because while they have been signed, their contracts don’t begin until the new league year which begins on March 16. The contracts also don’t count against the salary cap or the 53-man roster but can be used against the 90-man limit with practice squads through training camp.

Notable signings include cornerback Breon Borders, who was released prior to the Wild Card playoff game as well as linebacker Joe Walker and international tight end Bernhard Seikovits.

Nonetheless, Samuels is an intriguing, but also a familiar name to the Cardinals organization.

Jaylen Samuels

During Samuels’ college tenure at NC State, he was listed as a running back, fullback, wide receiver and tight end. After his senior season, Samuels was honored as 1st Team All-Conference as an “All-Purpose” player and as 3rd Team AP All-American as a tight end. Samuels finished his college career with 1,851 receiving yards, 1,107 rushing yards, and 47 total touchdowns.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Samuels in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft and was the backup to current Cardinals running back James Conner. Due to a late-season injury to Conner, Samuels stepped up and rushed 19 attempts for 142 yards in a 17-10 win. His 142 rushing yards marked the second-most by a rookie in Steelers history.

Samuels has the Steelers franchise record in catches by a running back in a single game with 13 receptions in a 2019 game.

Towards the end of the 2019 season, Samuels was the victim of a vicious hit by new teammate Jordan Hicks during the Steelers 23-17 over the Cardinals.

Samuels signed with the Texans in October of 2021 after being released by the Steelers during final roster cuts in August.

The sudden addition two days after the Cardinals’ elimination of the playing is due to the fact Chase Edmonds and James Conner are set to be free agents.

Only Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward will be the Cards running backs on the roster after the new league year, which could have behooved general manager Steve Keim into adding depth to the backfield.

Deon Yelder

The tight end position is another area where the Cardinals lack depth after the new league year. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams will be free agents as well as backups Demetrius Harris and Darrell Daniels.

Arizona is signing a big body in Yelder, who comes in at 6’4, 255 pounds. Yelder was undrafted and signed with the Saints.

Yelder later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 and played in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. The 26-year-old spent time in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. In five games with the Bucs, Yelder had one catch for no yards.

In his four-year career, Yelder has 11 receptions for 86 yards over 31 games.

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