The New England Patriots’ free agency exodus of 2020 does have one positive for the team after all: as recently calculated by Nick Fitzgerald of Over The Cap, the team is currently projected to earn three extra draft selections through the NFL’s compensatory formula. While the league will not officially announce those picks until closer to the draft, it seems certain that Bill Belichick and company will have extra ammunition to work with.
So, what selections are headed the Patriots’ way? According to Over The Cap, the team is expected to earn another third-round pick for losing quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as two fourth-round selections for the departures of linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins to the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, respectively.
The full chart of New England’s eligible gains and losses via free agency last year looks as follows:
With Brady’s contract with the Buccaneers being valued at $27.38 million per year, the Patriots are projected to earn the highest possible compensatory pick this year: the 96th overall selection, which will help make up for New England’s forfeited third-round pick; the pick was stripped after the team’s non-football video production crew was found guilty for violating league rules by filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a 2019 regular season game.
The compensatory picks for Van Noy and Collins, meanwhile, are the second and eighth awarded in Round Four. Based on the current draft board, those selections would come in at spot No. 138 and No. 144. While naturally not of the same value as the Brady selection, they would still give the team some additional flexibility to move around the board either in the middle rounds of the draft or earlier.
While those three picks are the only ones currently projected to land in New England, the team does have some potential to get a fourth as well. According to Over The Cap, one of the following two scenarios would have to take place for that to happen:
If one of the contracts of either Adrian Phillips or Beau Allen are valued in the 7th round, and Ted Karras’s contract is valued in the 6th round, New England will get a 6th for Karras.
If the contracts of both Adrian Phillips and Beau Allen are valued in the 7th round, New England will get a 6th for Danny Shelton.
Those valuations are obviously done by the league, and will not become public before compensatory draft picks are announced. For the time being, therefore, we will go with the calculations as done by Over The Cap. In turn, we can project the Patriots to have 10 total selections in this year’s draft:
- Round 1: No. 15
- Round 2: No. 46
- Round 3: No. 96*
- Round 4: No. 119*
- Round 4: No. 138*
- Round 4: No. 144*
- Round 5: No. 158*
- Round 6: No. 193*
- Round 6: No. 196*
- Round 7: No. 240*
*still subject to change until the official draft order is announced
As noted above, the Patriots’ original third-round pick, which would have been the 77th overall selection, has been forfeited. The team also gained one additional pick in the sixth round — projected to be No. 193 overall — by trading defensive lineman Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.
All in all, the Patriots will have quite a few selections to work with regardless of how the league’s process eventually ends up assigning the compensatory picks.