Evan Weaver 1 of 3 Ex-Cal Players Signed to Futures Deals by Cardinals

Will former Golden Bears' All-American make it in the NFL some day?
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For those wondering where Evan Weaver's pro football career stands, it has not changed a great deal from where it was at the start of the 2020 season.

The former Cal star and 2019 first-team All-American spent the entire 2020 season on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad after the Cardinals selected him in the sixth round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Last month he was among a number of players who were signed to futures contracts by the Cardinals. 

In simple terms that means Weaver's status has not changed much, since the futures contracts are often given to players who finished the season on the practice squad but have shown enough potential to be retained by that team. For Weaver it is a one-year, $660,000 contract.

He's not the only former Cal player who was signed to a future contract by the Cardinals, as running back Khalfani Muhammad and tight end Ian Bunting also were among the 23 players Arizona signed to future contracts in January.

The 26-year-old Muhammad was a seventh-round draft pick in 2017 after rushing for 827 yards for Cal in 2016. He has been signed and waived by five NFL teams and has been on the practice squads of four of them. Muhammad was even on the Titans' active roster for the final regular-season game of the 2019 season but did not get in the game. The Cardinals waived Muhammad from their practice squad in November of 2020.

Bunting, who was Weaver's teammate at Cal in 2018, was on the Colts' practice squad in 2019 and sat out the 2020 season on the Colts' injured reserve list with a leg injury.

Weaver was an absolute star at Cal in 2019, when he led the nation by a wide margin in tackles (14.0 per game) and was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year as well as being an Associated Press first-team All-American. There were questions about his speed leading up the the draft and he was not taken until the sixth round.

He did not make the opening-day active roster for the Cardinals and was not one of several players promoted from the practice squad to Arizona's active roster at some point during the 2020 season. It remains unclear whether he will ever make the regular-season active roster of an NFL team, but you can bet that no player will give more effort to make it.

A December 2020 Evan Weaver Instagram post

Any player who was a free agent at the end of the NFL regular season is eligible for a futures deal. The contract takes effect on the first day of the NFL league year, which is  March 17 this year.

In general, futures contracts are used on players who were not productive enough to earn an active roster spot this season but might be worth an active roster spot the following season. The futures contract locks those players up so other teams cannot sign them.

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Cover photo of Evan Weaver by  Rob Schumacher, The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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