The Seattle Seahawks officially turned the page on the 2015 season, announcing the signings of 16 players to futures contracts.
Futures contracts essentially allows teams to re-stock their 90 man roster in preparation for the next season. The only players eligible are those not on the active rosters of another team at the end of the preceding season. These players typically don't have the big names most fans would recognize and often don't have much actual NFL playing experience, much less starting. These are often players scouts feel like have some untapped potential.
While often these players wind up being little more than camp bodies, sometimes these diamonds in the rough pan out. Among the players who signed futures contracts a year ago and developed into legitimate contributors for their respective NFL teams this season were running back Dion Lewis of the New England Patriots, wide receiver Seth Roberts of the Oakland Raiders and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Football fans normally associate the start of the football season in the fall when the games begin but the NFL calendar starts on March 9. The majority of the players on this list spent time on Seattle's (or another team's) practice squad, which are only allowed during game weeks spanning the regular season and playoffs (should a team qualify).
There are some familiar names on the list, including former starting center Drew Nowak (who initially signed with Seattle on a futures deal a year ago) and last year's fourth round pick Terry Poole, also an offensive lineman. Will Pericak was also signed, giving the Seahawks three developmental prospects to work with on an offensive line likely to see significant changes in the offseason with starting left tackle Russell Okung, center Patrick Lewis and right guard J.R. Sweezy each entering free agency.
The talent in the defensive backfield and receiver positions is also quite intriguing with cornerbacks Stanley Jean-Baptiste -- a former second round pick of the New Orleans Saints -- and George Farmer signing deals, along with wideouts Deshon Foxx, Antwan Goodley and Douglas McNeil, who has spent time on both offense and defense for the Seahawks.
The entire list - organized by position and alphabetically - is below.
QB: Phillip Sims
FB: Brandon Cottom
WR: DeShon Foxx, Antwan Goodley, Douglas McNeil III
TE: Robbie Shields
OL: Drew Nowak, Will Pericak, Terry Poole
LS: Andrew East
DT: Justin Hamilton
DE: DeAngelo Tyson
CB: George Farmer, Stanley Jean-Baptiste
S: Robert Smith