The NFL allows teams to have just 53-players on their roster during the season, but that roster limit becomes 90-players when the new league year starts in March. Teams, as they look toward that roster expansion, can begin signing any player who was not on a team roster at the end of the regular season to a Reserve/Futures contract, which is essentially a contract that goes into effect when the roster limit increase happens.
Most of the time, these players are practice squad members or fringe players who can come in and help during training camp, while also giving themselves another chance to continue their NFL careers. The Miami Dolphins have signed several players to futures contracts this offseason, and announced on Thursday the addition of another: wide receiver Tyler Murphy.
Murphy started his career as an undrafted free agent out of Boston College. He initially signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending four weeks into the regular season with the club. He appeared in two games, with one reception for 16 yards. He spent the most of the remainder of the season the Steelers' practice squad, though he was promoted to the active roster in Week 7 as the team's backup quarterback when injuries to both Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick left Landry Jones as the lone healthy quarterback.
Murphy began his college career in 2010 as a quarterback for the University of Florida. While with the Gators, Murphy did not make an appearance in a game until 2013, replacing the injured Jeff Driskel until a shoulder injury sidelined Murphy for the team's final three games. Murphy transferred to Boston College as a graduate student after the season and was named the Eagles' starting quarterback.
With Florida, Murphy threw for 1,216 yards on 60.5-percent completion rate with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also ran for 61 yards on 61 carries with 3 touchdowns. Murphy threw for 1,623 yards on 57.0-percent completion rate with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for 1,179 yards on 180 attempts with 11 touchdowns.
The Dolphins currently have wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Matt Hazel, and Greg Jennings on their roster. Matthews, who is technically still on the injured reserve list, and Hazel are both scheduled to be free agents this offseason, Matthews as unrestricted and Hazel as an exclusive rights free agent. Along with Murphy, the Dolphins have also signed wide receivers Tyler Davis and Robert Herron to futures contracts.