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Colts sign six players to reserve/future contracts

The Indianapolis Colts have signed six players to reserve/future contracts.


The Indianapolis Colts today signed six players who finished the season on their practice squad to reserve/future contracts, per the NFL's transactions report: tackle Burton Pierce, guard Ben Heenan, linebacker Edwin Jackson, guard Kitt O'Brien, defensive back Dezmen Southward, and wide receiver Joshua Stangby.

A reserve/future deal is for a player who was not on an active roster when the season ended.  Because the league year hasn't started yet, teams sign players to reserve/future contracts so that they are basically signing the player for a league year that has not yet begun.  Currently, teams cannot sign players to anything but a reserve/future contract unless they are in the playoffs.

For the Colts, these six players signed today finished the season on Indy's practice squad, and it makes sense for the Colts to want to keep working with several of the guys who were on their practice squad this season.  That's likely what they will continue to do, as now they will be able to keep them around and continue to develop them.

Pierce Burton (6-5, 305 pounds) was signed to the Colts' practice squad on December 1, 2015.  Before that, he spent time on both the Panthers' and Falcons' practice squads this season.  He was with the Falcons in training camp this year but was released shortly before the season started.  He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, but they released him during preseason that year.  Burton started out his college career at San Jose State, then spent one year at City College of San Francisco, and then spent the final two years of his collegiate career at Ole Miss, where he was a two-year starter at right tackle (starting 26 games).

Ben Heenan (6-4, 315 pounds) was originally signed as a free agent by the Colts in February 2015 out of the Canadian Football League, where he played three seasons for the Saskatchewan Roughriders after being the top overall pick in the CFL Draft in 2012.  He played in 52 games and started 49 of them during his time in the CFL, and the Colts signed him this offseason.  He is a talented player who is a very intriguing prospect, but he was injured in training camp and the team therefore waived him.  Once healthy, though, he was brought back, as the Colts signed him to their practice squad on November 3, 2015, and he stayed there the rest of the year.

Edwin Jackson (6-0, 230 pounds) played in 48 games (starting 23) at Georgia Southern, recording 218 tackles, two sacks, eight tackles for loss, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.  He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cardinals after the 2015 NFL Draft, but he was waived by the Cardinals shortly before the regular season began.  The Colts signed him to their practice squad on December 8, 2015, released him from their practice squad on December 16, and then signed him again to their practice squad on December 22.

Kitt O'Brien (6-5, 325 pounds) signed with the Colts during training camp last year after spending two seasons playing in the AFL for the Cleveland Gladiators.  Before that, O'Brien played in 40 games for Ball State, starting 36 of them.  The Colts signed him on August 7, 2015, and then waived him the very next day.  He was then brought back on August 10, and he stayed there until final roster cuts.  The Colts signed him to their practice squad on October 31, released him from their practice squad on November 10, and then signed him to the practice squad again on December 29.

Dezmen Southward (6-2, 210 pounds) was originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, where he set a school record by playing in 54 consecutive games.  He started 30 of them, recording 152 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 11 passes defensed.  He played in 19 games for the Falcons in 2014 and 2015, recording 24 tackles, a sack, two passes defensed, and an interception.  The Falcons waived him on November 6, 2015, however, and the Colts signed him to their practice squad just a few days later.

Josh Stangby (5-10, 185 pounds) was originally signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 Draft out of Ottawa University (NAIA).  In his career, he caught 84 passes for 1,465 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 17.4 yards per reception.  The Falcons released him just a few days after signing him in May, however, and he went unsigned until the Colts added him to their practice squad on December 21.