OMG! The moment you've all been waiting for! The Philadelphia Eagles finally did it! They finally hired a head coach! Oh, wait, no. That didn't happen. Instead, they signed tight end Chris Pantale to a futures/reserve contract.
Eagles sign Chris Pantale to reserve-future deal— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 14, 2016
Pantale spent most of the 2015 season on Philadelphia's 10-man practice squad. He was the fourth tight end under team control. Veteran Brent Celek, emerging talent Zach Ertz, and second-year special teams player Trey Burton were the three tight ends on the 53-man roster.
The Eagles previously signed seven of their practice squad players to futures deals. This makes cornerback Mike Lee, who the Eagles were ready to release at one point, the only Eagles practice squad player who doesn't seem to be returning to the team.
Here's the full list of players the Eagles signed to futures deals: Pantale, offensive tackle Brett Boyko, offensive guard Malcolm Bunche, inside linebacker Brandon Hepburn, wide receiver Freddie Martino, running back Kevin Monangai nose tackle Travis Raciti, and linebacker Deontae Skinner.
For a more detailed explanation on what a futures contract is, see this explanation. (Source)
Basically, when a player is signed to "reserve/futures" contracts means they are being signed for the upcoming season even though that season does not officially begin until the official start of the league’s new year as outlined by the NFL. Only players who were not on any NFL team’s active roster when the previous season ended are eligible for these types of contracts. If they were under contract, then they would remain so until the league’s new year starts. Players who were on practice squads at the end of the season are eligible to sign with any team. Hence the reason that you see many practice squad players being signed by their current team for the upcoming year to a reserve/futures contract. That way the team can continue to work with a player they’re familiar with and hopefully get them ready for an eventual roster spot on game day.