The Seahawks will now have five of the first 106 picks as they head into the NFL Draft, which is set for April 27-29.
The Seahawks received good news from the NFL on Friday in the form of two additional third-round picks in the 2017 draft as compensation for players lost via free agency a year ago.
Seattle was awarded picks Nos. 102 and 106 at the end of the third round, which combined with the Seahawks’ own picks in the first (26), second (58) and third (90) rounds means the team has five of the first 106 picks overall.
Seattle has just two other picks — in the sixth and seventh rounds — having traded its fourth-rounder last year in a draft-day deal with New England that netted the Seahawks DL Quinton Jefferson and WR Kenny Lawler, and having lost its fifth-rounder as a penalty for violating off-season workout rules.
Conventional wisdom held that the Seahawks would most likely be granted a third-rounder and a fifth or maybe two fourth-rounders as compensatory picks.
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Instead, the Seahawks got about as favorable of a haul as they could have hoped for in garnering two of what were an NFL record 11 extra third-round picks handed out.
The NFL awarded Seattle the two extra picks for losing linebacker Bruce Irvin (Oakland), offensive lineman Russell Okung (Denver), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (San Diego) and offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy (Tampa Bay) in free agency while signing offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell (not all free agents signed or lost count as part of the formula).
While the NFL does not detail exactly how it makes each decision, there was conjecture that the league used the entirety of the contract Okung signed with Denver in the formula rather than just what he will end up having actually earned. Okung signed what was a five-year, $56 million deal with Denver, but that came with a team option to pick up the final four seasons after the first year. It was revealed this week that Denver will not pick up the option and that Okung will again become a free agent, having earned $8 million last season in what will apparently be his only year with the Broncos.
Making the picks even more valuable for the Seahawks is that they can now be traded (they actually were allowed to be traded on a conditional basis for a brief time last year). In past years, comp picks could not be traded, though Seattle has often used the knowledge of having comp picks to trade other draft choices in the same rounds.
The Seahawks have now earned nine comp picks in the last three seasons, also getting four in 2015 and three in 2016. The comp picks a year ago, as well as a trade, helped Seattle end up with five of the first 97 draft picks.
Seattle also has its own pick in the sixth round this year, which with the comp picks now set is No. 210. Seattle also has a pick in the seventh round, No. 226, which it acquired in a trade from Carolina for receiver Kevin Norwood in 2015. Seattle’s own pick in the seventh round, No. 244, was dealt to Oakland last season for linebacker Dewey McDonald.
Seattle does not have a pick in the fourth round, which was part of a trade during last year’s draft that netted Jefferson and Lawler. That pick would have been No. 132 but is also being forfeited by the Patriots as part of the Deflate-gate penalties, with New England instead keeping its own pick in that round at No. 137. The Seahawks also do not have a pick in the fifth round as a penalty announced in September for violating rules regarding contact in OTAs. That pick would have been No. 170.
If Seattle remains at seven picks it would be the fewest for the Seahawks since 2010, when Pete Carroll took over as coach and John Schneider as general manager. However, the team has made a habit of draft day trades, having pulled off 35 deals involving draft choices (either during the draft or before) since 2010.
The NFL’s official release states that the comp picks are awarded “based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost. Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.”
Irvin signed a four-year deal with the Raiders worth up to $37 million, Mebane signed a three-year deal worth up to $13.5 million and Sweezy signed a five-year deal worth up to $32.5 million. Conversely, Seattle signed Webb to a two-year deal worth up to $5.75 million and Sowell to a one-year deal worth $1 million.
The first round of the NFL Draft is April 27, with the second and third rounds on April 28 and rounds four through seven on April 29.
Here is a look at Seattle’s picks in the 2017 draft:
First round: No. 26.
Second round: No. 58.
Third round: Nos. 90, 102 and 106.
Sixth round: No. 210.
Seventh round: No. 226.