The New England Patriots have signed 11 players to reserve-futures contracts since the beginning of January.
Three of the names are new ones. The other eight are not. But, all tallied, here are 11 odds and ends regarding the group of newcomers and returnees heading into the 2019 league year with New England.
1. Pair of draft picks: Two of those agreeing to futures pacts with New England arrived in the league as draft selections. Danny Etling, the quarterback by way of Purdue and LSU, landed with the Patriots at No. 219 overall in the seventh round last spring. Former Stanford Cardinal David Parry, meanwhile, landed with the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2015 draft at No. 151 overall.
2. Subtle quote of note: “Parry is the nose tackle,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of the Jan. 9 signing ahead of a Colts encounter back in 2015, “is really stout inside and has good playing strength.”
3. Four have logged snaps in the regular season: Parry, linebacker Calvin Munson as well as offensive tackles Cole Croston and Dan Skipper have all made their NFL regular-season debuts. Parry has appeared in 36 career games, starting every game during his first two years in Indianapolis. Munson checked into 14 games as a rookie free agent with the New York Giants in 2017, starting five. Croston and Skipper have combined for six games.
4. Bielema background: While the aforementioned Skipper stands in at 6-foot-10, the ex-Dallas Cowboy, Detroit Lion and Denver Bronco also stands in as a familiar face for current Patriots defensive consultant Bret Bielema. Bielema was head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks for all four seasons of the bookend’s SEC stay. Skipper blocked seven field goals over that span while starting 47-straight games.
5. CFL arrival: BYU’s Ryker Mathews, who was in training camp with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie in 2016, spent the past two campaigns with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The 26-year-old tackle appeared in 26 regular-season games over that span.
6. Patriots’ recent track record: New England has signed 66 players to futures pacts since early 2013. Of whom, 18 either previously appeared or went on to appear in a regular-season game for the organization, with 2017 Pro Bowl fullback James Develin and now-Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis among them.
7. Super decision: Defensive back A.J. Howard finished 2018 on the Giants’ practice squad. The Appalachian State product wouldn’t, however, finish it by signing a futures contract with New York. Howard instead latched onto the Patriots’ practice squad on Jan. 8 and found himself in line for a Super Bowl LIII ring 26 days later.
8. Two preseasons, three pressures: Jake Eldrenkamp, a 2017 undrafted free agent out of Washington, spent this past preseason with the Cleveland Browns. And over the course of 53 snaps in pass protection, he did not allow a single quarterback sack, hit or hurry at either guard spot, according to Pro Football Focus. Eldrenkamp previously conceded three pressures as a member of the Los Angeles Rams during his rookie preseason and nine as a redshirt senior with the Huskies, per PFF.
9. Members of Patriots’ 2018 UDFA class: Two in the Patriots’ futures crop signed their first NFL contracts with the organization as eighth-rounders in 2018. Frank Herron, an LSU defensive tackle who had a brief stint on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad before revisiting, is one. Edge-rusher Trent Harris, Miami’s sack leader in 2017 who went on to amass another 2.5 sacks last preseason, is the other.
10. Onetime summer catch: New England marks Damoun Patterson’s third NFL stop since breaking in as an undrafted addition last April. The wideout by way of Youngstown State, Highland Community College and Utah State got his rookie exhibition going with the Pittsburgh Steelers by catching six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown to open August versus the Philadelphia Eagles. Patterson joined New England’s practice squad in November after a cup of coffee with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
11. Past expiration: Two members of the Patriots’ final practice squad of the year are now free to sign elsewhere. Cornerback Jomal Wiltz went without a futures deal after accruing the entirety of 2018 and the bulk of 2017 on the scout team. Offensive lineman Tony Adams, a winter entrance, is in the same boat. Wide receiver Riley McCarron, who resided on the 53-man roster in September, later landed on practice squad-injured before also having his futures window close.