Patriots Sign Promising Rookie & 5 Others to Futures Contracts

Getty Tre Nixon

The New England Patriots were eliminated in the AFC Wild Card round by the Buffalo Bills, a 47-17 blowout that sent Bill Belichick’s squad looking to retool for 2022.

The Patriots got started immediately after being eliminated as they signed six players to futures contracts on January 17, as first reported by USA Today’s Henry McKenna.

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What Is a Futures Contract?

A reserve/future contract is a deal signed by a player with an NFL team after the regular season is over. The contract doesn’t count against the salary cap or the 53-man roster, but it does count against the 90-man limit associated with training camp.

Players who are signed to these deals are placed on the reserve/futures list and are protected from being signed away by another NFL team.

There are several intriguing additions to this short list of players, some of which saw some time on the team’s active roster. Let’s rank the players in order of how likely they are to make an impact on the active roster in 2022.

Kristian Wilkerson

Unless the Patriots draft a wide receiver in the first round, trade for or sign a big-name wide receiver, the position will be one of need for the team. Kristian Wilkerson doesn’t project as a player capable of becoming a No. 1 receiver, but he could find himself in the mix next season.

Wilkerson had a bit of a breakout performance late in the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17. He caught 2 touchdown passes while Bill Belichick kept the disappointing N’Keal Harry inactive for the game.

We thought we might see this become a trend in Week 18 and in the postseason against the Bills, but Wilkerson couldn’t get the call again from Belichick and his staff. Nonetheless, Wilkerson just might be the guy who finds himself as the third or fourth receiver on the roster in 2022.

Tre Nixon

Speaking of wide receivers, the speedy Tre Nixon was taken in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft, so the Patriots expected to have to develop him before he was ready to contribute on a major level.

Nixon possesses the sort of breakaway speed that could give New England’s offense a new element.’s Lance Zierlein likened Nixon to Carolina Panthers burner Robby Anderson. If he can make the Week 1 roster and deliver an impact, Nixon could be a surprise weapon for Mac Jones and the Patriots in 2022.

Quinn Nordin

It hasn’t happened the past two years, but you get the feeling the Patriots are waiting for Nick Folk to fall off. Folk followed up a strong 2020 season (92.9% field-goal success) with an almost identical season in 2021 (92.3% field-goal success) .

Still, the Patriots drafted bust Justin Rohrwasser in 2020 and held on to undrafted free agent Quinn Nordin through preseason and now after the season via futures contract.

Nordin has struggled with consistency since he was in college with Michigan (72.4%), but there is no questioning the strength of his leg. He gives an offense a different kind of special teams weapon if he’s healthy and accurate.

The Patriots are consistently keeping a connection with Nordin in hopes of having him under contract when and if he finds some stability.

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