As the NFL owners meeting is under way in Orlando, FL, an important part of next month’s draft has been announced. The disclosure of compensatory picks gives teams a better, more complete idea of where they’ll pick after the third round.
Looking at the Eagles current draft order, I believe that they were shafted for two reasons.
The first reason is entirely their fault. The Eagles have a total of eight draft picks. They should have nine, but part of the Lito Sheppard trade was giving the New York Jets this year’s fifth round pick if Sheppard was released before March 10.
Obviously, the Jets weren’t going to pay a $10 million roster bonus to someone who played in 11 of 16 games (starting in nine). While the Eagles are fortunate to gain a fourth round pick this year, the Jets gave up very little for a two-time Pro Bowler.
This is what happens when you hold onto a disgruntled player until you’re desperate to get rid of him. The Eagles reportedly could’ve traded Sheppard to Tampa Bay for a second round pick before the 2008 draft, but they were holding out for a better offer (sound familiar?).
Hindsight is 20/20, but it should also serve as a valuable lesson for the future. We’ll see how much the Eagles have learned in the upcoming weeks.
The other issue I have is with the disbursement of compensatory picks. If there’s one reason the actual formula isn’t disclosed, it’s because there’s no possible way to make logical sense of it.
The primary reason for a compensatory pick is to supplement a team that lost more qualifying free agents than it has gained. In addition to that, a player’s salary, playing time, and postseason honors are factored into the equation.
This equation initially made me wonder, “How did the Cincinnati Bengals get compensatory picks in the third and fourth round while the Eagles were delivered two seventh round selections??”
The answer is simple: Salary is the primary factor.
Having said that, shouldn’t the Eagles have received higher selections? After all, they lost one of only two free agents (Brian Dawkins) to make the Pro Bowl with his new team. Correll Buckhalter also had a pretty productive season in Denver (647 yards rushing; 5.4 yards/carry, which led team).
I feel the Eagles should’ve received compensatory picks in the fourth and sixth rounds.
Overall, it’s pointless to critique a compensatory formula that’s almost impossible to fully comprehend. It is what it is. The picks that are announced cannot be traded. One guarantee for the draft is the Eagles will select players at picks No. 243 and 244.
While I don’t fully understand or agree with the compensatory pick selection, I will say this: The Eagles would’ve had an extra pick in a higher round if they didn’t break the bank for someone who came off an ACL injury. Once again, hindsight is 20/20.
As it stands the Eagles have eight draft picks, five in the first four rounds. There’s a pretty good chance that will change soon.