Bears Sign 10 Practice Squad Players to Futures Contracts

Marqui Christian, Jesper Horsted, eight others are added for the 2021 offseason work.
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The Bears signed 10 of their practice squad players to 2021 futures contracts, including one who played in Sunday's playoff loss.

Defensive back Marqui Christian got in for nine plays against the Saints, eight on special teams, after being activated from the practice squad for the game.

Also signed to futures contracts were Khalil Mack's brother Ledarius, an outside linebacker, wide receiver Rodney Adams, defensive back Xavier Crawford, guard Dieter Eiselen, tight end Jesper Horsted, wide receiver Thomas Ives, defensive lineman LaCale London, defensive back Teez Tabor and offensive lineman Badara Traore.

Horsted spent the entire season on the practice squad after playing in six games and making eight receptions in 2019.

One player who had been on practice squad and did not receive a futures contract was linebacker Manti Te'o, who proved to be a valuable asset for the playoff game. 

The former Chargers and Saints player wound up being a surprise starter in place of Roquan Smith and made six tackles. As a result, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Bears to retain him with a regular contract going forward.

Smith's backup Josh Woods not only was nursing two injuries but also lacks any real experience. Te'o had been with the Bears practice squad since Oct. 20 so he was very familiar with the defense.

It's unclear what will happen with other practice squad players at this point. The practice squads were expanded to 12 players by the new collective bargaining agreement and then to 16 for the pandemic season, so it's possible they could carry less players on them next season.

The league calendar was set in November for this year and offseason work is scheduled to begin for the Bears and all teams on April 19, or April 5 for teams with new coaches. 

The franchise and transition tag designation period is Feb. 23 through March 9 and the negotiating or legal tampering period for free agency begins March 15, with signings allowed starting March 17.

The draft is slated for April 29 through May 1.

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