Little potential for compensatory draft picks in the Saints’ 2025 forecast

It’s been good to see the New Orleans Saints changing their valuation of compensatory draft picks in recent years. Acquiring extra draft picks in exchange for losing free agents to other teams has worked out for them. Just look at their past history:

  • 2021: Comp picks in rounds three (Nos. 98 and 105) and six (218)

  • 2022: Comp picks in rounds three (Nos. 98 and 101)

  • 2023: Comp pick in round seven (No. 257)

And while the Saints expect to continue that trend in 2024 (they’re projected to receive three extra picks in the fifth round, per Over The Cap) the forecast for 2025 isn’t looking very favorable. Remember, teams are awarded comp picks in the following year’s draft based off the current year’s free agency results. And New Orleans simply lacks many players who are seen as desirable qualifiers.

OTC’s Nick Korte explains:

The Saints remain devoted to keeping core players on their roster, no matter how much they amortize the cap dollars associated with their contracts to do so. This regularly leaves them with few CFA worthy players hitting free agency. But on the other hand, filling up on incumbent players also tends to make them avoid free agency. In the past couple of seasons this has generated some comp picks for them, but typically they do not care much about them, and this could be one of those seasons where they revert to their mean.

Many of the Saints’ top players expected to become available will not qualify for the comp picks formula: guys like Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, and Andrus Peat. It’s possible that backups on defense earn better opportunities and higher salaries elsewhere, but any signings the Saints make could balance out the losses (and possible comp picks) for defensive tackle Malcolm Roach, linebacker Zack Baun, or cornerback Isaac Yiadom.

So that means the Saints must make the most of their comp picks while they have them. And fans should expect them to be traded. The Saints have traded every comp pick they’ve received in the last three years:

  • Both third-round comp picks in 2021 were packaged in a trade to move up and pick cornerback Paulson Adebo

  • The seventh-round comp pick in 2021 was traded in a move up for offensive tackle Landon Young

  • Both third-round comp picks in 2022 were traded; No. 98 was used to move up for wide receiver Chris Olave, while No. 101 was traded in the package of picks used to get another first rounder, which became left tackle Trevor Penning

  • And the seventh-round comp pick in 2023 was packaged with tight end Adam Trautman in a trade up, targeting wide receiver A.T. Perry

So this tells us that Saints general manager Mickey Loomis tends to view comp picks as trade ammunition more than anything else. He’s known as an aggressive wheeler-and-dealer on draft day, and recent history lays out his go-to strategy very clearly. We’ll see if the trend continues in 2024, but the Saints may not have the promise of extra picks to lean on in 2025, depending on how free agency plays out this March.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire