On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed five more players to reserve/futures contracts for the 2022 season: punter Sterling Hofrichter, tackle Jonathan Hubbard and wide receivers Travis Jonsen, Vyncint Smith and Austin Watkins. They join a group of 10 other players, all of whom were on the Buccaneers' practice squad at the end of the season, who previously inked futures deals a week ago.
Futures contracts allow teams whose season have come to an end to begin building their rosters for the upcoming campaign. Players who sign reserve/futures deals are activated from that reserve list after the Super Bowl and their contracts take effect with the start of the new league year. In this case, that will be Wednesday, March 16.
Hofrichter returns to the Buccaneers, who had him on their practice squad for the final month of the regular season and the first week of the playoffs. He was elevated from the practice squad for the Week 16 and 17 games against the Panthers and Jets, handling the punting, kickoff and holding duties while punter Bradley Pinion was dealing with a hip injury. Hofrichter averaged 37.8 gross yards and 33.7 net yards on six punts for the Buccaneers, downing three inside the 20.
Atlanta selected the former Syracuse punter in the seventh round of the 2020 draft and he handled the Falcons' punting duties for one season, compiling a 42.5-yard gross punting average and a 39.3-yard net average. He was released near the end of his second training camp in Atlanta.
Hubbard also had a stint with the Buccaneers in 2021, participating in the final week of training camp before spending the first three games on the practice squad. An undrafted free agent out of Northwestern State, he spent his entire 2020 rookie season on the Dolphins' practice and went back to camp in Miami this summer.
Hubbard (6-4, 313) started 21 games over the 2018-19 seasons at Northwestern State, primarily playing offensive tackle.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Montana State in 2020, Jonsen has had stints on Tampa Bay's practice squad during each of the past two seasons. He was with that crew from Week Five through the Super Bowl in 2020 and then returned for the first six weeks of this past season. Jonsen saw action in two games during the 2021 preseason and caught three passes for 25 yards.
At Montana State, the 6-4, 211-pound Jonsen saw action at both quarterback and wideout. He was a first-team all-conference selection in 2019 after completing six of seven passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, recording 55 receptions for 580 yards and a score and rushing 82 times for 526 yards and eight touchdowns.
Smith (6-3, 202), has played in 29 games with five starts over the past four seasons with the Houston Texans and New York Jets. Originally an undrafted free agent from Limestone College in 2018, Smith made the Texans roster out of training camp and saw action in seven contests, contributing five catches for 91 yards and a score. He started the 2019 season on Houston's practice squad but was signed off of it by the Jets in September. Over the past three seasons he played in 22 games for New York, catching 18 passes for 238 yards. He also has experience as a kickoff returner.
Smith is the only Limestone player ever to appear in a regular season NFL game. In 40 games for the Saints he caught 153 passes for 2,371 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Watkins (6-3, 210) played his college ball at Alabama-Birmingham before signing with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent last May. He was released in late August but returned for a three-week stint on San Francisco's practice squad in November.
Watkins played in 25 games over three seasons for UAB, catching 98 passes for 1,642 yards and nine touchdowns, with an average of 16.8 yards per reception.