The Pittsburgh Steelers may choose to take a page out of the New England Patriots’ playbook when it comes to 2020 free agency. The move is simple, if you can't sign a player on a team friendly deal just let them walk, wait to sign any replacement, and earn a compensatory selection.
Just think back to the 2019 offseason when the Patriots couldn't come to terms with Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, Cordarrelle Patterson and Malcom Brown. What did they do about losing players of their caliber? Nothing, at first. They just let them walk, and in 2020 they will be awarded for it.
The compensatory formula would suggest the Patriots will receive an extra 2 third-round picks and 2 more sixth-round picks. All they had to do was not panic and wait for the second waive of free agency, which last year started May 7th. In the following 9 days they brought in Ben Watson, Dontrelle Inman, Jared Veldheer, and Jamie Collins. At which point those contracts can no longer effect the formula.
So what can the 2020 Steelers learn from the Patriots? For starters they absolutely cannot overspend on any of their own UFAs. While losing a Bud Dupree or Javon Hargrave will hurt in the short term, the long term compensatory-pick acquisition would help ease the pain of losing those starters.
Secondly, there's no point for the Steelers to spend any money on a first waive free-agent, they’ll cost too much for this team anyway. The second waive free-agents always feature stop-gap players this team will likely look to bring in, so they may as well maximize their compensation.
Losing Bud Dupree and Javon Hargrave will probably earn the Steelers two 2021 third-round picks, Sean Davis will earn a contract to play elsewhere likely adding a lower tier comp-pick and even B.J. Finney could command a nice pay-day on the open market, adding yet anther pick.
While it may make for a boring off-season, the obvious long term success of the Patriots is apparent and the strategy is worth a conversation among team management.
What do you think? If you're Kevin Colbert would you be willing to wait out free agency to acquire compensatory selections? Let us know in the comment section below!