Following the end of the regular season, former Rice football punter Jack Fox has signed a futures contract with the NFL’s Detroit Lions
Former Rice football punter Jack Fox has been swept up into the churn of NFL life. After going undrafted, Fox signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs and was cut prior to the regular season. He was on and off the Chiefs’ practice squad during the season, eventually being signed to the practice squad by the Detroit Lions.
It looks like Fox will be in Detroit for at least a little while longer. At the end of the regular season, Fox agreed to a futures contract with the Lions.
What is a futures contract?
NFL teams don’t practice between the end of the season and training camp, thus eliminating the need for practice squad players. Even though they weren’t on the official roster, teams still want to make sure they can keep many of those players in the fold for the upcoming season when the rosters expand from 55 players to 90. And thus futures contracts were born.
Essentially a futures contract is a low-cost commitment between the player and the team to keep a player from signing elsewhere during the offseason. Futures contracts take effect at the start of the new league year (Mar. 18, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. ET).
What’s next for Fox?
It’s unlikely Detroit would have brought Fox in if they didn’t intend to give him a shot to compete for a spot on the active roster next season. The Lions’ current punter Sam Martin is eligible for free agency, leaving a potential opening at the position. Detroit also signed free agent Matt Wile who appeared briefly for the Falcons this season and was the full-time punter for the Vikings in 2018, averaging 45.2 yards per punt.