No value can compensate for losing a star QB in free agency who also happens to be the most successful player in NFL history. Still, the NFL did the best it could to compensate the New England Patriots under league rules for Tom Brady’s exit.
In the NFL, when teams lose more players in free agency than they acquire, the league uses a formula to gauge the impact of the loss and awards compensatory picks to the club the player left. There are few free-agent departures more impacting than Brady’s exit from the Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past offseason.
Thus, the Patriots were awarded the highest possible compensation for their loss on Wednesday. The NFL released the details on all compensatory picks, and Brady’s exit rendered a third-round selection, the 96th overall, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
An Amendment to the Second Compensatory Pick
The Patriots’ fourth-round compensatory pick was originally to be the 140th selection, but that was later amended to No. 139, per the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.
The Patriots will now have two additional picks to use to rebuild their roster. In case you’re unclear about the whole compensatory pick concept, Over the Cap offers a digestible breakdown of the concept.
Here are the basics from their site that break it down in full.
Compensatory Free Agent (“CFA”) shall be defined as an Unrestricted Free Agent (“UFA”) who: (i) signed with a new Club during the prior free agency signing period […] prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Monday following the NFL Draft for that League Year1 […]; and (ii) ranked within the top 35%2 of all League players […]. Clubs that lose to other Clubs a greater number of CFAs than they sign or acquire from other Clubs shall be eligible to receive a Compensatory Draft Selection in the College Draft to be held in the following League Year subject to the provisions set forth below.
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The Patriots Will Have 9 Picks to Begin the Draft
Barring a trade to add or subtract picks, the Patriots will have nine chances to improve their team on draft day. With wide receiver, tight end, and quarterback as areas of need, there is a chance we’ll see all three positions addressed by the team’s second fourth-round pick.
Prospects like WR Amari Rodgers out of Clemson, QB Jamie Newman from Georgia, and Pat Freiermuth from Penn State might be too good for the Patriots to pass up in their first five selections. Here is a look at all of the Patriots’ picks, including the compensatory selections.
- Round 1, Pick 15 (15) – Assigned Selection
- Round 2, Pick 15 (47) – Assigned Selection
- Round 3, Pick 33 (96) – Compensatory Selection
- Round 4, Pick 15 (121) – Assigned Selection
- Round 4, Pick 34 (139) – Compensatory Selection
- Round 5, Pick 15 (159) – Assigned Selection
- Round 6, Pick 13 (195) – From Dallas Cowboys
- Round 6, Pick 15 (197) – Assigned Selection
- Round 7, Pick 15 (243) – Assigned Selection
With free agency set to begin on March 17, there are still quite a few unknowns. The Patriots could fill some of their needs at tight end and receiver so that the projections could look different. We’ll have most of our questions answered in the next 30-45 days.