New England Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo was in Philadelphia on Friday to interview for the Eagles’ vacant head coaching position. While it remains to be seen if his trip eventually leads to an offer — given his lack of NFL coaching experience Mayo has to be seen as an underdog compared to other candidates — we do know that the 34-year-old leaving New England would lead to some compensation for the Patriots.
Under a new change to the league’s so-called “Rooney Rule” that was voted into action during the 2020 season, the Patriots would be entitled to two third-round compensatory draft picks in case Mayo or any other minority assistant left to become a head coach elsewhere. The rule also covers front office members leaving to take over general manager positions.
Unlike ex-Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who accepted to become the Houston Texans’ new general manager last week, Mayo would qualify for that compensation stipulation. In case he leaves New England, his then-former team would therefore get an additional third-round pick this year’s draft as well as another in next year’s.
“I think that’s how we’ve made progress over the past several years,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when the NFL agreed to resolution in November. “It’s continually keeping a focus on this, adapting, looking to see what areas we can improve on, and that constant evolution of improvement, to try to make sure we’re doing everything appropriate to give minorities an opportunity to advance in the head coaching ranks or the coaching ranks in general, in personnel and other football areas, to well beyond that.
“To the people at the league office here, to club levels, this is an important initiative of the NFL.”
Thus far, two teams have benefitted from this rule change.
The Los Angeles Rams will receive the two extra picks after losing their director of college scouting, Brad Holmes, to the Detroit Lions. With Holmes becoming the Lions’ next GM, the Rams will get extra third-round picks in both 2021 and 2020. The San Francisco 49ers will also get two picks for losing defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to the New York Jets’ head coaching vacancy.
As mentioned above, New England would join them in case Mayo left to join the Eagles or one of the other teams still looking for a head coach this year. The Patriots would then actually slip in between the 49ers and Rams considering that those compensatory selections are handed out based on the draft order (San Francisco’s record was worse than New England’s which was worse than Los Angeles’).
Regardless of Mayo leaving or not, the Patriots are currently projected to get at least one additional third-rounder via the NFL’s compensatory formula: Tom Brady’s free agency contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is expected to qualify for the highest selection handed out. That pick would be the 96th overall selection, and make up for the third-rounder that the league stripped from New England after the team violated videotaping rules during the 2019 regular season.