As practice squad deals expire shortly after the regular season ends, NFL teams must seek to hang onto a few low-tier players who impressed them throughout the year. This is where futures deals come in, locking those players into the 90-man roster that will take the field for offseason workouts. Yesterday, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com informed us that Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort signed eight players to such deals, but only a few are worth mentioning here.
One of those potential hidden gems is a familiar name in Andre Baccellia, who appeared in 13 games for the Redbirds since 2022. While Baccellia played in just 167 offensive snaps and 38 special teams snaps during that span and has just seven career catches for 45 yards on 10 targets, the 26-year-old has impressed Cardinals brass enough to try and develop him into presumably a serviceable depth player.
Wide receiver Kaden Davis looked good in August 2023, and he stuck around on the practice squad all season. Davis, who made a name for himself in the USFL (now the UFL) as a return man, could win a job in the same role in 2024 even if the Cardinals brought back Greg Dortch and chose to use the latter more on offense as opposed to special teams.
Arizona Cardinals signed some high-potential receivers to futures deals
It’s also no secret the Arizona Cardinals must upgrade their receiving unit, and Jeff Smith could be a dark horse in 2024 to creep his way onto the roster. Smith has stuck around the league since 2019, and during the NFL Combine that season, he clocked in a 40-yard dash of 4.34, showing us he has plenty of speed.
While Smith spent all of 2023 on the New York Giants and Cardinals practice squads, he posted some encouraging numbers in 2022 when he received playing time with the New York Jets. That year, he recorded eight catches on 11 targets in 141 snaps, and he also compiled 134 receiving yards, and 16.8 yards per catch.
None of the above receivers figure to be problem-solvers for the Cardinals lack of a true No. 1 target, but they have all shown NFL-caliber potential in the past and could help out by providing serviceable depth and on special teams. Most signed to futures contracts don’t make it far in the league, but in some cases, hidden gems are hiding deep in the rough and provide some sort of solid contribution.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)