FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots were planning for the future when they signed trick-shot kicker Josh Gable to their practice squad earlier this week.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained the rationale behind that noteworthy signing Friday morning. The team had no intention of moving away from kicker Nick Folk, Belichick said, and simply wanted a closer look at a player who potentially could help them down the road.

“We had a spot available on the practice squad, and it gave us an opportunity to look at a younger kicker,” Belichick said. “But we’re going with Nick, so that’s not really — we’ll worry about that next year. But rather than just come in and do a workout, we were actually able to (have him) kick with the team and put him on the practice squad for a couple days.

“So, put that in the bank, and maybe it comes up later on at some point in time down the road. Maybe it doesn’t. I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes.”

Gable, a 29-year-old former professional soccer player who did not play college football, participated in two practices with New England. He was released Friday, according to a report from ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss.

It would not be surprising to see the Patriots sign Gable to a futures contract after the season. It’s currently unclear how they’ll proceed at the kicker position in 2020.

Veteran Stephen Gostkowski has one year remaining on his contract, but he turns 36 in January and is coming off season-ending hip surgery. His injury has forced the Patriots to cycle through a revolving door of retreads: Mike Nugent, Folk and one game of Kai Forbath.

Folk, who missed one game following an appendectomy, has been the most consistent of the bunch, going 8-for-11 on field-goal attempts and 4-for-4 on extra points in four games with the team. One of his three misses was blocked.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images