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Browns sign eight players to reserve/future deals, but not Connor Hamlett

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New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Monday, the Cleveland Browns signed the following members of their practice squad to reserve/future contracts: WR Josh Boyce, TE J.P. Holtz, OL Zach Sterup, DL Trevon Coley, LB James Burgess, DB Justin Currie, DB Trae Elston, and DB Darius Hillary.

What are "reserve/future" contracts? Anyone who was signed to an NFL active roster cannot enter free agency until March. Anyone who was on a practice squad though became free agents at the conclusion of the regular season. Therefore, the Browns basically "re-signed" the players they are interested in having another look at during the offseason programs or in training camp next season. In other words, it's really just a formality that has to be done to keep your practice squad in tact.

The Browns were allowed to have ten players on their practice squad in 2016, but only eight players were listed above. That means that the other two players -- WR Jordan Leslie and TE Connor Hamlett -- have become free agents.

How impactful can these reserve/future players typically be? For some perspective, Hamlett was among last year’s group in January 2015, but none of the other players amounted to anything with the club. Of course, the Browns had gone through a coaching change, so one would think that the continuity factor might improve the odds of this year’s group.

It’s a little surprising that Hamlett was not brought back again. A training camp darling, he was active for three games this year, catching 1 pass for 17 yards and 1 touchdown.

In unrelated news, rookie WR Jordan Payton’s suspension was officially lifted by the NFL.