The Lions won’t get any compensatory draft picks and why that’s a good thing

The NFL won’t officially award the 2023 compensatory draft picks until later this winter, but do not expect the Detroit Lions to get any picks. The standard-bearer of comp pick projections, Nick Korte of Over the Cap, released his latest calculation. The Lions are nowhere to be found.

It’s not a surprise. Compensatory picks are awarded for teams with net losses in free agent comings and goings from the prior season. The Lions didn’t have any free agents of major consequence leave (players released by the Lions do not count) and sign for substantial contracts last offseason. Meanwhile, Detroit signed wide receiver DJ Chark and safety DeShon Elliott, among others.

Not getting any compensatory picks means the team was a net importer of talent, a spender in free agency. That’s a positive development for a team in the early stages of a rebuild. Bringing in better talent than what walked out the free agency door is how a 3-13-1 team gets better.

A year earlier, the Lions were the biggest net losers in free agency and were rewarded with three comp picks, including the top compensatory pick (No. 97 overall). It helps explain why the team sunk to the second-worst team in the league in the 2021 season.

GM Brad Holmes struck paydirt with those comp picks. He turned them into S Kerby Joseph, TE James Mitchell and DE James Houston. That helped accelerate the rebuilding process; Joseph and Houston were capable starters by the end of their rookie seasons, and Mitchell emerged as a potential starting TE in 2023 once he got healthy.

Next year could be a different story. The Lions have some pending free agents, including Chark, LB Alex Anzalone and OL Evan Brown, who could sign for large enough contracts elsewhere to earn Detroit a compensatory pick in 2024. But that’s only the case if the Lions also don’t spend some cap money in free agency bringing in free agents from other teams.

In short, if you want the team to sign free agents to improve the roster, you don’t want compensatory draft picks the following year.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire