New rule change provides more draft day flexibility


The NFL today announced that compensatory draft picks will be tradeable, beginning in 2017.

One thing we know about Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider, he loves stockpiling draft picks. Another thing we know, he doesn’t mind using some of those extra picks to move up in the draft. In April, he sent four picks to the Washington Redskins in order to move up in the 3rd round to select WR Tyler Lockett.

Well, beginning in 2017, Schneider will have even more draft day buying power.

Today the NFL changed their stance on what teams can do with compensatory draft picks. Previously untradeable, those picks will now be fair game, and teams will be able to treat them just like regular selections.

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The Seahawks are one of the teams (New England and Baltimore foremost among the others) that benefit greatly from the compensatory pick system.  Designed as a way to help mitigate a team’s loss of significant free agents, up to four picks each year can be awarded to any club. Which round those picks come in is dependent upon the size of the contract for the departing player. For instance, projects the Seahawks will be awarded the maximum of four picks in 2016 for the defections of Byron Maxwell, James Carpenter, Malcom Smith and O’Brien Schofield. Maxwell, because of the $10.5M annual value of his deal with the Eagles, will bring back a 3rd round pick to the Seahawks. A third-rounder is the highest compensatory pick a team can receive.

As the Seahawks continue to deal with a roster full of young, highly-paid stars, significant FA’s will likely have to be allowed to move on each year, resulting in a continued influx of these comp picks. 2017 looks to be no different. Players such as Russell Okung, Bruce Irvin and Brandon Mebane are set to become UDFA’s, and may be too costly to make sense for the Seahawks.

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Being able to trade these picks may end up helping the good teams more than the bad. Teams like the Seahawks, with GM’s like Schneider, like to stockpile draft picks, allowing them to take chances on high-ceiling players with upside. It also provides them with the ammunition to move up in drafts to go after highly rated players they might not otherwise have a shot at, given their draft position.

There are still questions that need to be answered. Primarily, will the league move up the official announcement of which picks each team receives? Right now it’s so close to the draft it wouldn’t give teams much time to try and make deals. Whatever the case, there’s time to work out all the details. When it’s all said and done, this is a new rule that will be something the Seahawks can take advantage of in future years.