Detroit Lions Sign 12 to Futures Contracts

May 21, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff (71) and Rodney Austin (74) during organized team activities at Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions went about their offseason business by signing a 12 players to futures contracts today.

According to the list published on, those players are WR Patrick Edwards, CB Lionel Smith, OG Rodney Austin, CB Conroy Black, WR Troy Burrell, LB Carmen Messina, RB Devin Moore, CB Ross Weaver, WR Lance Long, WR Dominique Curry, WR Terrence Austin and WR Chastin West.

A number of those names should be familiar to Lions fans as the bulk of the list represents players that were on the Lions’ practice squad and/or have been in training camp with the Lions in the past. And those are just the type of guys that get signed to futures contract so don’t be surprised there are no big names here – we’ll have to wait for free agency to begin in March for that.

These are the type of players that aren’t on 53-man rosters but hope to earn their way onto one next season. They will go through the Lions’ offseason program and training camp and wait nervously when it comes time for cuts to be made.

If you’re looking for a couple names from this to file in your memory for later, remember Patrick Edwards, Conroy Black and Rodney Austin.

Edwards impressed early in training camp last year after joining the Lions as an undrafted free agent. He cooled down and didn’t survive cuts but did stick with the Lions on the practice squad. He likely would have seen time on the 53-man roster given the Lions injury/attitude problems there but Edwards was placed on the practice squad IR earlier in the season.

Conroy Black has great speed but was seen as a developmental prospect coming out of Utah. The Oakland Raiders cut him during the preseason and he joined the Lions practice squad in September. If the development comes, the Lions could be richly rewarded.

Rodney Austin has played guard and center in camp for the Lions in the past and could find himself in the thick of a battle for a roster spot depending on what the Lions choose to do with those holding roster spots ahead of Austin.