Before the Sony Michel trade could be finalized between the Patriots and the Rams on Wednesday, something rare happened: The NFL stepped in and forced the two teams to change the terms of the deal and that's mostly because the original terms of the trade violated league rules.
When the trade originally went down, the two sides agreed to a slightly complicated deal: In exchange for getting Michel, the Rams were going to send two future draft picks to New England. At the time of the trade, the picks were going to be a 2022 sixth-rounder and a conditional 2022 fifth-rounder that was going to convert to a fourth-round pick if the Rams were given a fourth-round compensatory pick for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The problem with those terms though is that they're illegal. According to The Athletic, the NFL made the two teams revise the terms because you're not allowed to put any conditions on a trade for a compensatory pick. The fact that neither team knew this is mildly surprising, but not a total shocker and that's because it was illegal to trade any of your compensatory picks until just five years ago. The first time teams were allowed to deal their compensatory picks came in 2016.
Even though teams are allowed to trade away their compensatory picks, they don't find out which comp picks they've been allotted until the March before that year's draft, so you're not allowed to trade them until then. Basically, you can trade conditional draft picks -- the Colts did this when they traded for Carson Wentz -- and you can trade compensatory picks, but you can't trade conditional compensatory picks.
In the end, the Rams and Patriots had to come up with new terms and that's exactly what they did. Under the new deal, the Patriots will still be getting two picks, but to make the deal legal, those two picks will be a 2023 fourth-rounder to go along with the 2022 sixth-rounder that was already included in the package (This guarantees the Patriots will get a fourth-rounder in the trade, unlike the prior deal, where New England would have only received one if the Rams were awarded one as a compensatory pick).
It took some tweaking, but the two sides got everything ironed out, which allowed Michel to show up to the Rams' practice facility on Thursday.
If you want to know who won the Michel trade, you can read our grades by clicking here. If you want to know how the Rams plan to use Michel, you can read what general manager Les Snead had to say about the situation by clicking here. On the other hand, if you want to know how the loss of Michel will impact the Patriots backfield, then be sure to click here.
Excited for the biggest NFL schedule in history? Follow along on the CBS Sports app and get the latest insights from our team of NFL insiders, plus news from our team of experts, as well as data insights on every player. If you already have the CBS Sports app, make sure to favorite the your favorite team so you don't miss a thing!