NFL compensatory picks: Patriots earn highest one in 2021, thanks to losing Tom Brady

Eric Edholm
·2-min read

Tom Brady left the New England Patriots and won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Patriots' consolation prize? They have the highest compensatory pick in the 2021 NFL draft, starting with the highest one awarded for losing Brady.

New England added additional third- and fourth-round picks in the upcoming draft — Nos. 96 and 140 overall. They also let Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy go in free agency last year, in addition to letting Brady walk.

Bill Belichick's team previously lost its third-round pick this year for the Patriots' illegal recording of the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline in 2019. But the Patriots now have a total of nine picks overall in this draft.

The Dallas Cowboys received the most 2021 picks with four, one each in Rounds 3 (No. 99 overall), 4 (No. 139), 5 (No. 179) and 6 (No. 227) in return for losing Byron Jones, Randall Cobb, Robert Quinn and others last year in free agency.

Other teams earning third-round selections are the Los Angeles Chargers (97th overall), New Orleans Saints (98th and 106th), Tennessee Titans (100th), Los Angeles Rams (101st and 104th), San Francisco 49ers (102nd and 103rd) and Baltimore Ravens (105th).

The league annually dishes out a total of 32 picks based on a complex, obscure formula that factors the net loss of free agents (versus free agents signed). The picks are tacked onto the end of the regular order for each round starting with Round 3.

In addition this year for the first time, teams were awarded compensatory picks for minority coaches and GMs lost to other teams. For a few years now the NFL has allowed these compensatory picks to be traded.

Here is the full list of picks:

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And for you draft completists out there, the Chicago Bears now hold the final pick in the 2021 draft — aka, the "Mr. Irrelevant" pick. That is, if they don't trade it.

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