The NFL on Friday announced its list of compensatory picks awarded to each team for the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t receive a single compensatory pick. Those picks are based on a team’s net gains versus losses in free agency from the prior offseason.
Last year, the Eagles’ biggest offseason losses were defensive tackle Bennie Logan and cornerback Nolan Carroll. Logan signed with the Chiefs and Carroll signed with the Cowboys.
But the Eagles were active in free agency, signing Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long and Nick Foles.
The NFL uses an unspecified formula to determine whether a team gained more than it lost in free agency, or vice versa. That formula incorporates salaries, snaps played, postseason success and other factors.
However you slice it, the Eagles definitely gained more from last year’s free-agent haul than they lost.
But all that’s about to change next year, and the team’s likeliness to collect a slew of compensatory picks in 2019 could influence executive vice president Howie Roseman’s approach to the 2018 draft.
The Eagles, who are currently about $9.5 over the salary cap, according to overthecap.com, aren’t likely to be big spenders in free agency. Most of their funds will be dedicated to re-signing linebacker Nigel Bradham to keep him from reaching the open market.
They might address depth at tight end and linebacker by signing a veteran here or there, but nobody’s getting a big-money deal from the Eagles.
Conversely, the team has more than a dozen players who are expected to reach free agency, many of whom won’t be back. Blount, defensive tackle Beau Allen, tight end Trey Burton, and slot cornerback Patrick Robinson headline the list of Eagles who just wrapped up the last years of their contracts.
It stands to reason the Eagles will be losing much more production than what they gain this offseason, which means they’ll be in line next offseason to have their draft stock fortified with compensatory picks.
Knowing that he’s likely to have some extra draft picks in 2019, Roseman could be more inclined to deal future picks to move up in this year’s draft. The Eagles are currently without second- and third-round picks for the 2018 draft thanks to deals Roseman made in the past.
The Super Bowl champs have just six picks: the 32nd pick, two fourth-rounders, two fifth-rounders, and a sixth-rounder. Roseman, who makes more trades than any other general manager, could easily package a current pick and 2019 pick to move back into the second or third rounds.
Roseman’s top personnel chief, Joe Douglas, cut his teeth in the Baltimore Ravens’ chain for years before eventually landing with the Eagles. The Ravens have often let expensive free agents at positions of depth leave and then benefited from the addition of compensatory picks.
The Ravens have turned several compensatory picks into impactful starters over the past decade. The Eagles, who have frequently talked about leaning heavier on the draft-and-develop approach over free agency, hope to have the same success.
– Geoff Mosher, a longtime Philadelphia sports reporter, is also a host on @975TheFanatic in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffMosherNFL.