Losing Tom Brady in free agency last year didn't work out so well for New England during the 2020 season. However, they will be getting one small consolation prize thanks to Brady's exit and that prize came on Wednesday when the Patriots were awarded the highest compensatory pick of any team for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The one advantage that comes with losing free agents during the offseason is that if you lose enough of them, the NFL eventually makes up for it with extra draft picks and if you lose a big-time free agent like Brady, then the league gives you an even bigger reward.
In New England's case, they were awarded two extra picks for this year's draft and both picks are in the top-140, including a pick that will come in the third round. Overall, there were only 10 compensatory picks handed out for the third-round and no team received a comp pick that was better than the one the Patriots got.
Here's a look at the third-round comp picks:
96th overall pick in draft: New England Patriots
97. Los Angeles Chargers
98. New Orleans Saints
99. Dallas Cowboys
100. Tennessee Titans
101. Los Angeles Rams
102. San Francisco 49ers
103. Los Angeles Rams
104. Baltimore Ravens
105. New Orleans Saints
The league hands out compensatory picks every year, but not every team receives one. For instance, the Jaguars haven't been given a comp pick since 2010. Although the exact formula the league uses to award comp picks hasn't been released, we do know that it basically comes down to this: a team that loses more high-impact free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
On the Patriots' end, they lost Brady, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ted Karras and Danny Shelton during free agency last year and only gained a few free agents in return for those losses (Beau Allen, Damiere Byrd, Adrian Phillips).
Overall, the Patriots were awarded two compensatory picks, which was tied for the fourth-highest number in the NFL. Only the Cowboys (four), Falcons (three) and Packers (three) were awarded more. If you want to see the full compensatory pick list for the 2021 NFL Draft, be sure to click here. There were a total of 36 picks handed out this year and those picks went to 17 different teams.