The NFL officially announced compensatory picks for the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday afternoon. Here’s the complete list.
As expected, the Philadelphia Eagles were not awarded with any selections.
The NFL awards teams who lose more free agents than they sign in free agency by compensating them with extra draft picks. These picks are awarded at the end of each round from rounds three through seven. The kind of compensatory picks earned mostly depend on the contract a player signs. The bigger the contract, the better the pick. For example, the Ravens were awarded an extra third round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft this year after losing Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders last offseason.
In short, the Eagles weren’t awarded a pick this year because they didn’t lose more than they gained in free agency.
Philadelphia could be in a very different situation next year, however. The Eagles are currently set to have 14 players become unrestricted free agents this offseason. Complete list below:
The Eagles might be able keep some of these players, but a number of them will likely leave in free agency. As we’ve said a billion times by now, the Eagles are very limited on cap space. They rank dead last among NFL teams in cap room going into the new league year.
So not only will the Eagles be losing players, they’ll also be unable to be very active when it comes to signing other free agents. This makes the Birds a prime candidate to receive compensatory picks in next year’s 2019 NFL Draft.
Back in April last year, I wrote about how relying on compensatory picks was a strategy that was likely to emerge in the Eagles’ future.
While retaining your own good players is ideal, there comes a time when players get paid more than they’re worth. A good team should be able to identify that inefficiency and try to get value for that player while they can. This is how Baltimore likely felt in the case of [Tim] Jernigan. But the trade route doesn’t always work because you can’t force another team to deal with you. So you might have to let the player walk in free agency. It hurts to lose that good player, but the trade-off is that you’re saving money and you’re getting a young, inexpensive player in the draft who will be cost-controlled for three or four seasons.
Relying on compensatory picks obviously makes drafting that much more important for your team. The Ravens have been comfortable with relying on this system due to their confidence in [Ozzie] Newsome, who is considered to be one of the best talent identifiers in the league.
The Eagles obviously don’t have Newsome. But they do just happen to have one of his top protégés from Baltimore: Joe Douglas. Douglas, whom Lurie touted as a “pivotal” hire, spent 15 years learning under Newsome. I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest he’s aiming to employ as a similar strategy to the one his mentor, who won two Super Bowls, is using to this day. Philadelphia has had to rely on free agency too much in recent years and they’d like to get back to building through the draft.
It’s worth remembering that compensatory picks are more valuable now than ever, too, since they’re able to be traded (unlike they used to be). It’s possible one of the teams that received a pick this year (Arizona, for example?) could suddenly have more ammo to trade for Nick Foles.
But I digress. The point of this post is to remind you that there is an upside to losing some key contributors such as Trey Burton, Beau Allen, and Patrick Robinson. It’ll be a bummer to see those guys go (assuming they do), but at least the Eagles will potentially be receiving something in return for them in 2019. If it’s clear they’re not coming back to Philly, fans should be rooting for these free agents to be getting as big of contracts as they can. Do it for the comp picks!