It’d be hard to watch Von Miller and others leave in free agency, but more draft picks make it an easier pill to swallow.
Compensatory draft selections by design are supposed to lessen the blow for teams that are losing talent in unrestricted free agency but may not have the resources to sign highly valued free agents themselves. The Los Angeles Rams have leveraged compensatory draft selections as an integral part of their team build, though this is a topic that can be complex and often misunderstood.
The earliest example of the Rams and the Les Snead-Sean McVay brain trust gaming the system was back in 2017 when the team traded a 2nd round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins played only a single season in LA; however, he performed well and was a big factor in turning around a historically bad offense. The Kansas City Chiefs signed Watkins to a significant contract, netting Los Angeles a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2019.
But the compensatory formula also takes into account free agents signed by that team, which offsets the return of players lost. The Rams have found work arounds in that area as well, signing players in free agency that have been released as opposed to their contracts expiring – Ndamukong Suh and Leonard Floyd are examples here.
The third key aspect of, and the newest portion of the formula for, compensatory draft selections are for minority members of the front office and coaching staff that leave for general manager or head coaching positions. The Rams earned two 3rd round compensatory picks for the Detroit Lions hiring Brad Holmes as GM after the 2020 season.
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