The San Francisco 49ers signed their seventh and final practice squad player to a reserve/future contract. The team announced Friday afternoon that Shayne Skov has signed his reserve/future deal, which means he will be back for the team's offseason workout program, and likely training camp as well. He joins RB Kendall Gaskins, TE Xavier Grimble, WR Lance Lewis, T Chris Martin, NT Garrison Smith and DL Lawrence Okoye under contract for the coming offseason.
Skov originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent on May 12, 2014. Following training camp, Skov was signed to the team's practice squad on August 31, before being released on September 15. He was signed to the Buccaneers practice squad on September 24, and was later released on October 21. Skov was signed back to the 49ers practice squad on November 11, where he spent the remainder of the season.
There is no word on why Skov's signing took the extra week, but he is now under contract. Skov will compete with a group of inside linebackers that has several questions, but could very well end up being a deep group. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman project as the starters, with Chris Borland and Michael Wilhoite as the primary backups, and Nick Moody as an emergency option.
However, Bowman and Willis both finished the season on injured reserve, and we don't know what their status is moving forward. Both seemed to be making the necessary progress in their return from significant injuries, but we'll need to wait and see what happens as the offseason program and training camp show. I would not imagine either will be overly active on the field in the offseason workout program. They will get plenty of classroom work, but my guess is they stay out of too much on-field work until training camp.
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.