It seems as though we've been discussing compensatory picks quite a bit lately. And with good reason.
Last season when Jamie Collins was dealt to the Browns for a conditional compensatory pick last season, we clarified that what the Patriots got in return for Collins was not necessarily the same as what they would've received for him had he left as a free agent.
Malcolm Butler's situation has some compensatory-pick implications. If the Patriots keep him for the entirety of the 2017 season and then let him walk in free agency -- depending on his contract, how much he plays and how well he plays -- he'll factor heavily into New England's compensatory-pick formula for 2019.
Now there's LeGarrette Blount.
After the Patriots issued the May 9 tender for Blount last week, they retained their ability to have him count toward their 2018 compensatory pick formula if he signed elsewhere before training camp. Now that he has -- he agreed to a one-year deal with the Eagles, it was announced Wednesday -- let's take a quick look at what that might mean for the Patriots draft next year.
As always, Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com, did a bang-up job on the Blount question when the Patriots issued the exceedingly rare May 9 tender last week.
Korte's theory is, in short, that the Patriots may not pick up an extra compensatory pick for watching Blount fly to Philly after issuing the tender. Instead, the value in having Blount count toward next year's comp-pick formula could be to protect the picks they're already projected to receive.
As a reminder: The compensatory-pick formula the league uses has never been published, but we know the basics. It's based on free agents lost and free agents acquired in a given year by a particular team. The level of those players is taken into consideration -- based on salary, playing time and other factors -- and then picks are issued to teams who have lost more (or better) free agents than they acquired.
The key in this situation is that free agents lost who would be deemed worthy of compensatory picks can be canceled out by free agents acquired.
This is significant for the Patriots because, per Korte, the losses of Chris Long and Barkevious Mingo (valued as seventh-round comp picks) will be canceled out by the acquisitions of Lawrence Guy and Rex Burkhead. With Logan Ryan and Stephon Gilmore canceling out, that could leave the Patriots with fourth and fifth-round comp picks for Jabaal Sheard and Martellus Bennett, respectively.
However, if any of these players don't play as much as expected (or at all), the formula would see some shakeup.
For example, if for some reason Barkevious Mingo doesn't make the roster in Indianapolis, the Patriots would lose out on the benefit he provides their formula and potentially lose the fifth-rounder they're scheduled to receive for Bennett.
By issuing the May 9 tender and having Blount -- who Korte also assigns a seventh-round value -- count toward the formula, the Patriots gain some insurance against Mingo or Long being removed from the formula due to an unexpected dip in playing time.
Should Blount, Mingo and Long all play up to their contracts, then the Patriots could potentially pick up a late seventh-round comp pick to add to the fourth and fifth-rounders they're already scheduled to get.
That extra 2018 draft capital would be welcome in New England, obviously. But having Blount count toward the formula to help the Patriots guard against losing a fifth-rounder might be deemed even more valuable.