The New England Patriots signed three players to reserve-future contracts on Wednesday.
Running back Dion Lewis, defensive tackle Antonio Johnson and outside linebacker Rufus Johnson have all agreed to deals for the Patriots’ 2015 season, according to the NFL transaction wire.
Lewis, 24, rushed for 2,860 yards and 30 touchdowns over his final two seasons at the University of Pittsburgh, where he assumed the starting role after LeSean McCoy was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Lewis was also drafted by the Eagles as a fifth-round pick in 2011, and proceeded to rush for 171 yards and two touchdowns over 24 career games with Philadelphia. In April of 2013, Lewis was traded to the Cleveland Browns. He was cut by Cleveland on Aug. 30, 2014, and later spent one week with the Indianapolis Colts in September.
Antonio Johnson, 30, was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. The 6-foot-3, 308-pound Mississippi State defensive lineman was signed by the Colts off Tennessee’s practice squad in November of 2008, before rejoining the team that drafted him in May of 2013. Over 83 games and 52 starts, Johnson has collected 143 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Rufus Johnson, 24, was chosen by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Tarleton State product served as a defensive tackle, defensive end and outside linebacker during his tenure in New Orleans, and spent his rookie year on the team’s practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in the postseason. He was released by the Saints in August of 2014.
Reserve-future signings occur before the start of the League Year, and any player not on an NFL team’s active roster at the end of the previous season is eligible.
Halfback Jonas Gray, fullback James Develin and guard Jordan Devey were once acquired by New England under the same capacity.