The deadline has passed for any free agent signings that will affect the awarding of compensatory picks in next year’s NFL draft, and the Patriots and Rams are the teams that look to be in the best shape for 2019 compensatory picks.
Both the Patriots and the Rams are likely to be awarded two third-round picks next year, according to OverTheCap.com. That’s the best haul of any team.
The Patriots are always smart about getting compensatory picks, which are awarded to teams that lose more free agents, and especially more expensive free agents, than they sign. It’s no surprise to see the atop the list of compensatory picks.
But the Rams’ presence at the top may surprise a lot of people, because the Rams made offseason headlines by attracting a lot of players. How can the Rams get so many compensatory picks after an offseason dominated by headlines about the Rams bringing in big-name players?
Because those big-name players weren’t the unrestricted free agents who count toward the compensatory pick formula. Players who arrive in trades, like Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, don’t count toward the compensatory pick formula. Nor do players who were cut by their previous teams, like Ndamukong Suh. But players who leave your team as unrestricted free agents and sign big-money contracts with other teams do count toward the formula. The Rams lost two such players, Sammy Watkins and Trumaine Johnson, and that’s why they’re expected to get two third-round picks.
The NFL doesn’t publish the full compensatory pick formula, and part of the formula relates to players’ performance during their first seasons with their new teams, so it’s possible that some of this could change before the compensatory picks are awarded for next year’s draft. But right now, the Patriots and Rams are looking good.