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49ers sign 5 players to reserve/future contracts

The San Francisco 49ers took care of some transactions on Tuesday, signing five players to reserve/future contracts. We break it down in more detail.

Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers announced five transactions Tuesday afternoon. The team signed five players to reserve/future contracts for 2015. This list includes RB Kendall Gaskins, TE Xavier Grimble, WR Lance Lewis, T Chris Martin and NT Garrison Smith. All five were on the 49ers practice squad to close the season.

A reserve/future contract basically locks up the player for the upcoming season. A player can sign this kind of contract if he was not on the 53-man active roster at the end of the previous season, so it covers practice squad players and any already existing free agents. Players on the active roster that have contracts expiring do not become free agents until the new league year starts on March 10. The 49ers can continue signing players to reserve/future contracts.

Last season, the 49ers signed the following players to reserve/future contracts: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, T Carter Bykoski, S DJ Campbell, RB Jewel Hampton, WR Chuck Jacobs, G Al Netter, NT Mike Purcell, WR David Reed, WR DeMarco Sampson, P Colton Schmidt, CB Dax Swanson, DT Christian Tupou, and WR Devon Wylie. None of these players made the 49ers 53-man roster to start the 2014 season, although Mike Purcell spent time on the practice squad before getting promoted late in the season.

These signings leave Lawrence Okoye and Shayne Skov as the only practice squad members unsigned. Some folks have brought up an article from earlier today in which the author effectively turns this year's drama into Jim Harbaugh vs. Trent Baalke. This has been mentioned, but as the last 48 hours have progressed, more people have acknowledged this is likely more a Harbaugh-York problem. Certainly there are no guarantees, but that is how I view it.

That being said, if you are inclined, the hatchet is laid on thick against Baalke in this article. They point to Shayne Skov as one example of this battle. When Chris Borland got hurt, the article portrays the situation as Skov getting ready to come off the practice squad, only to be undercut by Trent Baalke.

Shayne Skov, a 49ers' linebacker who was lured to Stanford University by Harbaugh, was preparing for his first NFL start following an injury to the ever-talented Chris Borland. His time had finally come, and with Harbaugh in his corner, the sky was the limit. Now to get off this practice squad...

Harbaugh lobbied for Skov's promotion to the active roster, but was instead blocked by the stubbornness of Baalke, who bypassed Skov - a player familiar to Harbaugh's idiosyncrasies and football acumen who oozes ‘above reproach' character that is sorely lacking on this roster - and signed Desmond Bishop to fill the vacancy created by Borland's misfortune. Nick Moody started for Borland, but not promoting Skov and undermining your head coach is inauspicious work.

None of us can say with 100 percent certainty that this is not true, but I am skeptical. The article is interesting if at least from an entertainment perspective, but I am not exactly buying what the author is selling. I was going to skip it, but a few people have brought it up in the comments, so I figured I would at least provide a quick thought. You can believe what you want, however.