In the wake of the recent trade of Jamie Collins from the New England Patriots to the Cleveland Browns, it generated some interesting discussions on Twitter as to what implications this will mean for 2017 compensatory picks, given that this is the first draft in which they may be traded. Therefore, I thought it would be prudent to recap the precise transactions that have been made, when weighed against OTC’s current projections.
The Jared Goff Trade
The first trade to occur that potentially involves a compensatory pick is likely to be part of the Jared Goff trade between the Rams and Titans. As part of that trade, Mike Florio reported that the Titans would receive a 3rd round 2017 comp pick from the Rams, if they were awarded one. The Rams likely had a good idea that they were in line to get one, due to Janoris Jenkins leaving for the Giants on a contract worth over $12 million per year. In OTC’s projections, I believe it’s highly likely that will happen.
The Carson Wentz Trade
The other megatrade last year for a rookie quarterback also featured a similar compensatory pick clause. Per Florio again, the trade involved a conditional 5th round pick in 2017 going from Cleveland to Philadelphia, with the condition that it could turn into the highest of any 4th round comp picks the Browns receive in 2017. The “highest” clause is important, because OTC’s projections believe, as Florio’s source confirms, that the Browns will indeed receive multiple 4th round comp picks, at the least for Tashaun Gipson and Mitchell Schwartz.
The Leonte Carroo Trade
During the draft, the Dolphins made a trade-up with the Vikings in order to select Leonte Carroo. In order to do so, the Dolphins gave the Vikings a 6th rounder in 2016, and two picks in 2017: an unconditional 3rd, and a conditional 4th that, again, was based upon whether or not the Dolphins get a 4th round comp pick, that pick of which they’d yield to Minnesota if they get it.
Unlike with the high confidence I express in the previous two trades, OTC is currently projecting that the Dolphins will not get a 4th round comp pick in 2017. They will almost certainly get a 3rd for Olivier Vernon, and are also projected to get a 5th for Lamar Miller. It is likely that the Dolphins think that the potential 4th rounder is coming from Miller. Currently, the projection disagrees, even with snap count adjustments, as Miller has only played in about three fourths of them, a high number for a running back as is. There is a chance that Miller could see his value increased from postseason honors, most likely the Pro Bowl or All-Pro, but whether it would be enough to boost him to the 4th round, I am not certain.
The Jamie Collins Trade
As mentioned, the big news today was the trade of Collins for what Adam Schefter reported as “a compensatory third round pick“. The Browns and Patriots likely think that this will be for Alex Mack, of which OTC projects to give the final 3rd round comp pick of 2017 to Cleveland. Tony Grossi soon reported afterward that if the Browns aren’t awarded a 3rd round comp pick, they would get a “regular” 4th round pick.
In the case of Mack, OTC’s projections lead me to believe that as long as Mack continues to play all the snaps during the 2016 regular season for the Falcons, he will be valued as a 3rd. But if gets hurt, or if the projection misses on the 3rd/4th cutoff, Mack could be valued as a 4th instead. This led me to reach a fun thought. If Mack is valued as a 3rd rounder, it would mean that the Patriots would get the 104th overall pick in the 2017 draft, according to OTC’s projections. But if he is not, and also assuming the 0-8 Browns finish with the worst record, the Browns’ regular 2017 4th would still be 104th overall. So on the surface, absolutely nothing would change.
But then I was then reminded by Twitter followers of a clause in the NFL’s punishment of the Patriots for the Deflategate scandal. The draft forfeiture was a 1st in 2016, and a 4th in 2017–with the additional condition that “[i]If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited.” That would mean that if the Patriots ended up acquiring a presumably high 2017 4th from Cleveland, that would be the 4th that would be forfeited–even if it would have been 104th overall in either scenario.
However, as usual it appears that Bill Belichick is thinking one step ahead. Doug Kyed reported that according to the NFL transactions wire, the Patriots officially acquired a conditional 2018 4th round pick from the Browns for Collins. Given the reports from Schefter, Grossi, and others regarding a 3rd round comp pick, it’s reasonable to speculate that the condition is that the Patriots will instead get the 3rd round comp pick if the Browns get it first. Since the Deflategate 4th round punishment applies only to 2017, this could be a clever way by Belichick to avoid potentially losing a very high 4th rounder for a player of Collins’s talent.
As we can see, since the NFL allowed compensatory picks to be traded, there have been a lot of creative ways teams have utilized them in trades, even well before the picks have been officially announced. If the intention of the NFL was to create more intrigue and interest regarding trades in a sport that is traditionally very trade averse, then the mission is being accomplished.