Heading into the 2020 NFL draft, the New England Patriots are equipped with a league-maximum four … [+]
Not often do the New England Patriots cancel their way out of the NFL’s compensatory equation.
The organization didn’t by the time the window for factoring in free-agent signings closed on May 8, 2019.
By then, the investments were in place. Offensive tackle Trent Brown had penned a four-year, $66 million pact with the then-Oakland Raiders while defensive end Trey Flowers had penned a five-year, $90 million pact with the Detroit Lions. Wide receivers Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson found themselves checking in as a Carolina Panther and a Chicago Bear, respectively. And swing tackle LaAdrian Waddle became a Buffalo Bill as cornerback Eric Rowe became a Miami Dolphin.
All the moving pieces played a part in where the Patriots stood Tuesday afternoon.
The league announced its 32 compensatory selections for the 2020 draft, and head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s war room would be awarded the maximum of four by the NFL Management Council.
Ahead looms Nos. 98 and 100 overall in the third round and Nos. 212 and 213 overall in the sixth round. As for what becomes of those slots, late April will bring answers.
The commencement of the league year on March 18 could, too.
Fifteen teams in all drew at least one pick before the cutoff. And behind the NFL-topping Patriots were the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks with three each.
A team that loses “more or better” compensatory free agents than it gains the previous year is one piece to the calculations. But cost, playing time and postseason accolades are others.
Qualifiers must also stay with their next roster beyond the 10th week of the regular season, a clause which led to Pro Bowl special-teamer Justin Bethel’s midseason terms in 2019.
The balance is something that the Patriots have historically weighed well. Sometimes via pick-for-player deals and other times via patience.
The latter appeared to play a part in the signing of veteran bookend Jared Veldheer, who’d subsequently enter a brief retirement, during organized team activities last spring. The same went for starting linebacker Jamie Collins and starting defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Both of whom reconvened on one-year contracts with base salaries under $1 million.
Since the NFL Management Council issued its initial compensatory draft picks in 1994, New England … [+]
Since the initial installment of compensatory formula in 1994, New England has garnered the rights to an additional 43 draft choices, matching the total put forth by the Dallas Cowboys.
The lone team with more over that span is the 52 put forth by the Baltimore Ravens. And on the opposite end of the list, the Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints have combined to collect 54.
Michigan quarterback Tom Brady was once a compensatory arrival at the start of Belichick’s tenure. Georgia fullback Patrick Pass and Notre Dame wideout David Givens also were. And among the current Patriots who traveled that avenue, there is West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste, Houston linebacker Elandon Roberts and Illinois interior lineman Ted Karras.
Comp picks, which gained trade eligibility three years ago, bring the Patriots to a total of 12 assets heading into the 2020 draft.
New England’s 2020 Draft Selections
- Round 1: No. 23 overall
- Round 3: No. 87 overall
- Round 3: No. 98 overall – compensatory
- Round 3: No. 100 overall – compensatory
- Round 4: No. 125 overall – via Chicago
- Round 6: No. 198 overall – via Houston
- Round 6: No. 207 overall – via Denver
- Round 6: No. 212 overall – compensatory
- Round 6: No. 213 overall – compensatory
- Round 7: No. 233 overall – via Seattle
- Round 7: No. 238 overall – via Atlanta
- Round 7: No. 244 overall – via Philadelphia
Possessing four top-100 selections could help counteract the absence of a second-rounder in wake of the October trade for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. It could help counteract the absence of a fifth-rounder, as well, in wake of last spring’s short-lived swap for defensive end Michael Bennett.
But it is calculated flexibility.
Even if half of New England’s upcoming draft capital sits on the other side of No. 200 overall, it is something.