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32 compensatory picks for NFL Draft 2019 has Patriots and Cardinals as the big winners

The Patriots, Cardinals, and Washington all earned an extra four picks in this year’s draft.

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame-Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft order is officially set, and the New England Patriots just got a bit richer. The two teams that finished the 2018 season at Super Bowl 53 were each granted a pair of compensatory third-round picks to add an extra bow to superlative seasons. Only the Patriots will get to keep both of those picks, though.

One of the two third-round picks for the Rams belongs to the Jaguars. Los Angeles traded the rights to its earliest compensatory pick to Jacksonville for Dante Fowler, Jr. in October, so the Jaguars will get the No. 98 overall selection

The league awarded its annual spread of compensatory picks Friday, awarding bonus selections to teams negatively affected by free agency last spring. These extra 32 picks finalized this year’s draft order, bringing the festivities up to 254 picks and giving the Cardinals the opportunity to bookend the draft and take Mr. Irrelevant with the final selection.

Arizona, New England and Washington were each awarded the maximum four extra selections after losing several free agents last spring. The Rams, Vikings, and Bengals all gleaned three additional selections from the league’s proprietary compensatory formula.

Here’s the full list of extra picks to be awarded at the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Round 3, pick 96: Washington
  • Round 3, Pick 97: Patriots
  • Round 3, pick 98: Rams (belongs to the Jaguars)
  • Round 3, pick 99: Rams
  • Round 3, pick 100: Panthers
  • Round 3, pick 101: Patriots
  • Round 3, pick 201: Ravens
  • Round 4, pick 135: Colts
  • Round 4, pick 136: Cowboys
  • Round 4, pick 137: Falcons
  • Round 4, pick 138: Eagles
  • Round 5, pick 171: Giants
  • Round 5, pick 172: Falcons
  • Round 5, pick 173: Washington
  • Round 6, pick 205: Patriots
  • Round 6, pick 206: Washington
  • Round 6, pick 207: Cardinals
  • Round 6, pick 208: Eagles
  • Round 6, pick 209: Vikings
  • Round 6, pick 210: Bengals
  • Round 6, pick 211: Bengals
  • Round 6, pick 212: 49ers
  • Round 6, pick 213: Bengals
  • Round 6, pick 214: Chiefs
  • Round 7, pick 247: Vikings
  • Round 7, pick 248: Cardinals
  • Round 7, pick 249: Cardinals
  • Round 7, pick 250: Vikings
  • Round 7, pick 251: Rams
  • Round 7, pick 252: Patriots
  • Round 7, pick 253: Washington
  • Round 7, pick 254: Cardinals

Explain compensatory picks to me, please.

Compensatory picks are the league’s way of restoring a little bit of competitive balance when teams lose more in free agency than they take in. Officials award these bonus selections at the end of the third through seventh rounds based on the disparity between players who left a team in free agency and those who signed. In total, 32 picks are awarded each year, with teams suffering the greatest losses earning bonus picks at the end of Day 2.

While the NFL’s formula for awarding these picks isn’t public, it values players based primarily on their salary with their new team. If a team loses a player who goes on to sign a deal for $10 million annually and replaces him with a low-cost veteran making $1 million per year, that team would likely be in line for a third-round compensatory selection. This gives teams a low-cost way to rebuild after free agent losses — though the compensatory picks don’t kick in until the following season.

In 2018, 10 players signed contracts with new teams that averaged at least $12 million per season. But while the Vikings lost two such players — Case Keenum and Sam Bradford — they also signed Kirk Cousins at $28 million annually, which reduced the team’s spread to three selections, all in the sixth round or later.

Meanwhile, the Patriots lost Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler to outside bidders while making Adrian Clayborn’s two-year, $10 million deal their biggest free agent acquisition. As a result, they’ve earned the biggest draft boost of any team, with a pair of extra third rounders and picks in the sixth and seventh rounds as recompense.