On Wednesday, the NFL announced the distribution of 37 compensatory picks for the 2021 NFL Draft. Compensatory picks are given to teams that lost a certain amount of talent in free agency compared to their additions in free agency. For example, if a team allows three of their own players to hit free agency and they sign significant deals elsewhere but make one big signing of their own, that team could be in line for two compensatory picks. The exact formula for these picks is not made public, but Over The Cap has a nice explainer here.
Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, they were awarded no extra picks this year.
If you’re wondering why, it’s because the Lions were more active in adding free agents during the 2020 offseason than they were letting players go. You may remember that while they let Graham Glasgow and A’Shawn Robinson hit free agency, both of whom scored contracts averaging over $8 million per year, they were aggressive in adding players, including Jamie Collins ($10 million per year), Halapoulivaati Vaitai ($9 million per year) and Nick Williams ($5 million). In essence, their free agent additions canceled out the players they lost.
That being said, it’s certainly possible the Lions cash in on compensatory picks next year. It appears they will let both Kenny Golladay and Romeo Okwara hit free agency—with others possible following. And considering Detroit doesn’t have a lot of motivation—or cap space—to go on a shopping spree in the next couple weeks, those departures aren’t likely to be canceled out.
With the compensatory picks now distributed among teams, expect the official seven-round 2021 NFL Draft order to be released shortly.