There is a reason why the Green Bay Packers are very selective about the free agents that they sign every NFL off-season and one of the biggest reasons is compensatory draft picks.
It’s no secret that Thompson, the long-time general manager in Green Bay, loves to build through the draft. He is a scout at heart and over the course of his career, he has proven to be a quality drafter, which is why the Packers value compensatory picks so much.
And today, that belief was rewarded as the NFL rewarded the Packers Friday, with two compensatory picks in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Those picks are compensation for the departures of Tramon Williams and Davon House, who signed with the Browns and Jaguars for big money last off-season.
So while it seemed like the Packers were being inactive, the truth was that they trusted the draft process and they got two very good rookie corners. And because they didn’t sign a veteran free agent from another team, they got two fourth-rounders on top of it.
Now, two fourth-round picks may not sound great, but those picks will certainly be nice to have and will give the Packers even more flexibility with nine total picks, six in the first four rounds.
Thompson has also been good at finding of gems in rounds 4-7 of the draft and just some of them include: Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Corey Linsley, David Bahktiari, Sam Barrington, Jeff Janis, Micah Hyde, Mason Crosby and James Starks.
Compensatory picks are also why the Packers are sometimes so selective when it comes to free agents, because if a team signs an unrestricted free agent that can hurt when it comes to the compensatory formula. However, when a team signs a player that was waived or a “street” free agent, it does not.
That’s what I have been advocating for Green Bay to look at players like Jared Cook at tight end or even James Laurinaitis at inside linebacker. Those players will cost little money and will not count against Green Bay when it comes to compensatory picks — which they should receive if Casey Hayward and someone else like James Jones or B.J. Raji or Mike Neal gets a decent contract elsewhere.
The biggest thing to take away is that while it can sometimes be frustrating to watch Thompson do nothing during free agency — remember, it truly is all part of a larger plan.