Bucs sign nine from practice squad to futures contracts
With the Bucs season over after Sunday's loss to Carolina, the team can take the first step toward building a 90-man roster to compete for jobs next summer, and nine players from Tampa Bay's practice squad have been signed to futures contracts for 2016.
The nine -- former USF WR Andre Davis, OLs Josh Allen, Ben Gottschalk and Antoine Everett, CBs Joel Ross and C.J. Roberts, S Gerod Holliman, DT Derrick Lott and DE Martin Ifedi -- still face long odds to make the Bucs' final cuts next August. None of the 10 players signed to futures contracts last January are still with the team, though offensive linemen Matt Masifilo and Jeremiah Warren made the initial cut to 53.
Those nine players are in addition to five players promoted from the practice squad in the final two weeks of the season -- WR Evan Spencer, who made his NFL debut Sunday, S Kimario McFadden, who played Sunday as well, and RB Mike James, TE Tevin Westbrook and LB Darius Eubanks. Players signed to futures contracts are generally safe on the roster at least until after the draft, when undrafted free agents are signed and some cuts are made to make room for them on the 90-man roster.