Two months ago, on March 8th, the 2017 NFL league year officially began – and so did free agency. As opposed to years past, the New England Patriots were among the most active teams during the early portions of free agency, adding high-priced free agents to their Super Bowl winning roster.
Of course, as is the fate of most championship teams, the Patriots also lost some of their core players to the open market. Added up, the team lost more players than it signed and thus is in line to receive additional draft picks next year via the NFL’s free agency compensation formula.
According to overthecap.com, New England is on track to receive two compensatory selections due to the losses of defensive edge Jabaal Sheard and tight end Martellus Bennett. But while three additional members of the 2016 Patriots remain unsigned – LeGarrette Blount, Michael Floyd, Greg Scruggs –, they will not count against the formula.
After all, the window of free agency compensation ends today, which makes it unlikely that the trio leaves the market within the next few hours.
The end of the two-month period means that any unrestricted free agent left will no longer be accounted for via the formula. Consequently, a) the Patriots will not receive more than the two projected picks, and b) there will likely be some movement on the free agency front; particularly in regards to Blount and Floyd.
While Blount has drawn interest from the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, the Minnesota Vikings been linked to Floyd. Whether or not one or both will actually find a new home remains to be seen – but now is the best time for a team to add them; still relatively early in the offseason without effecting the compensation formula.
What appears certain, though, is that New England will not be that team: Based on the acquisitions the Patriots have made over the course of the offseason, they have elected to move on.