Saints projected to receive multiple compensatory picks in 2024 draft
The New Orleans Saints are projected to receive multiple compensatory picks in the 2024 draft after enduring a lot of losses in free agency. They’ve lost prominent players like defensive linemen David Onyemata (Atlanta Falcons), Marcus Davenport (Minnesota Vikings), Shy Tuttle (Carolina Panthers), and Kentavius Street (Philadelphia Eagles); linebacker Kaden Elliss (Falcons), safety Justin Evans (Eagles), offensive tackle Ethan Greenidge (Falcons), and wide receivers Marquez Callaway (Denver Broncos) and Deonte Harty (Buffalo Bills) are also playing elsewhere. So is quarterback Andy Dalton (Panthers).
Compare that to a surprisingly brief number of high-dollar new additions: defensive linemen Nathan Shepherd (New York Jets) and Khalen Saunders (Kansas City Chiefs), plus running back Jamaal Williams (Detroit Lions). The comp picks formula counts additions against subtractions in free agency, then awards future selections based on the exchange in value (which is determined by how much money is tied up in contracts and how many snaps players see on the field, among other factors). Players who sign at the veteran’s minimum like defensive backs Johnathan Abram, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Ugo Amadi, wide receiver Bryan Edwards, and right tackle Storm Norton don’t count.
So where do the Saints stand? NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projects the Saints to receive two fourth-rounders and a sixth-round comp pick in 2024, writing:
Some of the signings/departures cancel each other out here, but the Saints are likely to receive three picks, including fourth-rounders for Davenport and Onyemata.
Teams are capped at four compensatory picks, so they may have qualified for another late-round comp pick had they chosen to not sign either Shepherd, Saunders, or Williams. But it probably would have only been a sixth- or seventh-round selection. It’s worth more to have those veterans on the team than to have another late-round pick a year from now.
We’ve got a while to wait until these comp picks are confirmed. The NFL Management Council typically announces them in early March, before the start of that year’s free agency signing period. But if these projections are accurate (Zierlein’s expected haul for the Saints matches what’s being estimated by Over The Cap’s Nick Korte), here’s what the Saints will be working with in the 2024 draft:
Round 2 (via Denver Broncos)
Round 4 (compensatory for Marcus Davenport)
Round 4 (compensatory for David Onyemata)
Round 6 (via Philadelphia Eagles or Tennessee Titans)
Round 6 (compensatory for Kaden Elliss)
New Orleans has already traded several of their 2024 picks. They sent a third rounder back to Denver in the Sean Payton trade and spent a fourth rounder to get another pick in the 2023 draft from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their seventh-round selection belongs to the Houston Texans as part of the trade that brought Mark Ingram II back to New Orleans in 2021. The Saints could move more picks to acquire veterans between now and the NFL trade deadline in November, but it’s worth noting those compensatory picks cannot be included until they’re actually awarded in March 2023.
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