NFLPA president Eric Winston is not a fan of the compensatory pick structure that sends teams draft picks for losing talent in free agency and not spending on outside free agents.
“I’ve never understood it,” Winston said (via The Athletic’s Ross Tucker) of a system that began when full-fledged free agency spawned in 1993. “It was negotiated in a long time ago. It’s really antithetical to what we think the NFL should be. We have a soft cap system. There isn’t really the small vs. big market thing like baseball. If everybody is spending about the same money, why is it needed?”
The Eagles’ decision to trade a third-round pick for Golden Tate probably represented the top compensatory pick-related deadline deal, with the Lions taking a 2019 third-rounder and the Eagles likely betting Tate walking in free agency will net them a 2020 third. (Though, the Cardinals acquired a sixth-round pick (and cost the Vikings a 2019 third) by cutting Sam Bradford prior to Week 10.) This system also affects mid- or lower-tier free agents in March and April, when teams’ compensatory picks are attached to signings.
“As a player you are almost better off being cut because then every team can have interest in you without regard to the comp picks. How does that make sense?” Winston said, via Tucker.
Here’s the latest from around the league:
- Bruce Arians recently plugged former boss Chuck Pagano for the Browns’ job, and the former Colts coach has stayed involved in preparation for another potential opportunity. Pagano’s worked with NFL officials as a league consultant, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, adding that the six-year Indianapolis leader visited some college camps as well. Although Pagano’s final three years in Indianapolis did not go nearly as well as his first three, he may generate interest in 2019.
- The Vikings‘ decision to let Case Keenum walk and spend $84MM fully guaranteed to add Kirk Cousins ranks as one of ESPN.com’s best moves of the offseason. “They were smart enough to realize they had the quarterback-friendly setup with a ferocious defense that gives up 20 points or less a game,” an NFL exec said, via ESPN’s Mike Sando (ESPN+ link). While Keenum led all passers in QB DVOA last season, he’s 23rd in Denver. Cousins, though, is just 17th by this measurement. Cousins (12th) is 15 spots ahead of Keenum in Total QBR, however.
- An interesting what-if from a past trade deadline emerged recently. The Chiefs nearly traded Tony Gonzalez in 2008, months before he was actually dealt. Both the Eagles and Packers agreed to send a third-round pick to the Chiefs, and Jay Glazer of The Athletic (subscription required) notes it was going to be up to the then-32-year-old tight end to decide which team he preferred. (Gonzalez, per Glazer, initially wanted a trade to the Giants, but GM Jerry Reese refused to give up a third for the future Hall of Famer.) Then-Chiefs president Carl Peterson, though, changed the terms of the deal. Peterson, fired in December of 2008, asked for a second-rounder minutes before the ’08 deadline, Glazer adds, scuttling a potential Gonzalez trip to either an Eagles team that ended up in the NFC title game or Mike McCarthy‘s Packers — then in their first year of the Aaron Rodgers era. A livid Gonzalez then told Glazer he wanted to retire. However, he returned to a Chiefs team that finished 2-14 before new decision-maker Scott Pioli traded him to the Falcons the following year.