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NFL reportedly decides to cancel supplemental draft for a third straight year

Related: Meet the Patriots’ 2022 draft class

2022 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The NFL will not be holding its supplemental draft this season. According to a report by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league has taken advantage of its collectively-bargained right to nix the event for a third year in a row.

Covid-19 led to its cancellation in 2020, with the league also opting to forgo the 2021 edition. Now, the supplemental draft has been nixed again for undisclosed reasons.

The lesser publicized version of the”‘regular” draft, the supplemental draft is meant to take place annually to give college players an extra opportunity to enter the league in case, for example, their eligibility status has changed. That said, it is noticeably different from the draft taking place in late April both in terms of procedure and players being available.

As a result, teams rarely use it to bring talent on board at this stage of the offseason. The New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick, for example, have yet to add a player that way. Other teams have been similarly reluctant as only 15 men heard their names called in the supplemental draft this century.

Just two of them, Ahmad Brooks and former Patriot Josh Gordon, made a Pro Bowl in their respective careers. In 2019, the last year a supplemental draft was held, only one player joined the league that way: safety Jalen Thompson, who was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with a fifth-round pick.

That does not mean the supplemental draft is not worth paying attention to if it does take place. One of its fun quirks, for example, is that it uses a different procedure when compared to the one in late April.

While the “normal” draft ranks teams from worst to best to establish a picking order, the supplemental draft is a bit more complicated. It basically works like this: the league separates all 32 teams into three tiers. Teams with six or fewer wins enter one of them, non-playoff teams another, and playoff teams the third. The NFL then runs a weighted lottery system — teams with fewer wins have better odds — to determine the order.

This order becomes important because teams essentially bid on players: if a club wants to add one of the available candidates, it submits a round in which it would like to draft him.

The team with the highest bid is awarded the player and will subsequently have to give up a corresponding selection in next year’s draft (the Cardinals, for example, did not have a fifth-round pick in 2020 after spending it in the supplemental draft one year prior). If two or more teams bid the same round on a player, the predetermined draft order decides who gets him.

If a player does not get selected through this process, he enters free agency just like any other undrafted rookie. Given that the supplemental draft will not take place this year, however, players that would have entered might have to wait until next year to become eligible to join the league.