Back on Jan. 22, the San Francisco 49ers made a number of roster moves that went under the radar but in the end could end up proving to be vital. On that day, the 49ers signed 13 players to reserved/future contracts. A reserved/future contract is a deal in which a player who was not on an active roster at the end of the previous season ties the player to the team at the start of the following NFL calender season. Hence this is the time when NFL teams will sign players on their respective practice squads to said contract at the end of their respective seasons.
Now it is fair to say that not all 13 players the 49ers signed to reserved/future contracts will find their way onto the 49ers active roster for the 2014 season as most of the 13 are likely to be cut during mini-camp or training camp. Yet it is not out of the realm of possibility that one or two of the 13 could find themselves on the 53-man roster on opening weekend for the 2014 season.
One player who signed a reserved/future contract and has a good chance of making the 2014 opening week roster is wide receiver Chuck Jacobs. Jacobs was an undrafted free agent signing who came to the 49ers training camp being a player who had good physical presence as a wide receiver but needed to develop better route running awareness. Jacobs’ play during the 2013 preseason exhibited all his skills and some of his flaws.
If Jacobs shows improvement in his route running and proves to be a more aware wide receiver then one can see Jacobs making the active roster come opening week of the 2014 season. Jacobs can play his way on as a No. 4 or 5 wide receiver whose main contribution will come as a special teams player, especially if Kassim Osgood does not re-sign with the team. While Jacobs is the most obvious candidate, another reserved/future contract player who can be a part of the 2014 active roster is quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
The search for and determining who would be the backup to Colin Kaepernick last training camp was at times the most interesting storyline for the 49ers which ended up seeing Colt McCoy become the backup by default. Even after this cleared up, Jim Harbaugh muddled things by not having a third-string quarterback once B.J. Daniels was released. Bethel-Thompson was signed late in the season, and the fact that the backup situation is still in flux means that he might have a leg up on sticking around and being one of the quarterbacks on the depth chart come the start of the 2014 season.