Someone check on Bill Belichick and make sure he's okay because the NFL is about to give the Patriots one heck of an advantage.
Starting in 2017, teams will be able to trade their compensatory draft picks.
Compensatory picks are given to teams as relief for losing top players to free agency. For example, the Patriots lost cornerback Darrelle Revis to free agency and New England will receive the #2 compensatory pick in the 2016 draft, behind the Lions projected pick for losing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The compensatory pick is determined by the annual value of a player's new contract, how much they end up playing, and their accolades received over the subsequent season. Up until this rule change, teams were unable to utilize these draft selections in trades.
The Patriots are projected to receive four compensatory picks in 2016: a third rounder for Revis, and three six rounders for Vince Wilfork, Shane Vereen, and Akeem Ayers.
Of course, the Patriots won't be able to trade these four extra picks because the new rule doesn't start until 2017. But when that year comes around, you can expect Bill Belichick and the Patriots to fire up the phone lines to take advantage of their new draft capital.