If Day 3 picks are truly akin to lottery tickets, as so many NFL insiders regularly remind us, there certainly were quite a few winners in the 2015 draft.
Or perhaps more aptly put, there are no shortage of players selected between Rounds 4-7 in 2015 who are finding '19 free-agent windfalls.
The following former Day 3 guys — Trey Flowers, Jamison Crowder, Kwon Alexander, Za'Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, Nick Boyle and Bobby Hart — will sign multi-year deals Wednesday totaling north of $170 million guaranteed.
Atlanta Falcons former fifth-rounder-turned-franchise DT Grady Jarrett will collect in excess of $15 million next season. And fellow former fifth-rounders, Minnesota Vikings star WR Stefon Diggs ($40 million GTD) and Detroit Lions safety Quandre Diggs ($9.5 million), already cashed in on second lucrative contracts.
What does it all mean? Perhaps nothing. But it feels notable as more and more teams learn how to manipulate the compensatory pick formula, even if only Boyle was the only one in this lot acquired using that avenue.
This idea also allows us a one-stop forum to give our quick thoughts on said deals, so here it goes:
· The Lions' clear offseason goal is to model themselves after the Patriots, which is not a surprise given their deep roots in Foxboro, especially HC Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn. In addition to Flowers, their free-agent centerpiece, fellow former Patriots Danny Amendola and Justin Coleman were added to the mix. All of them fit needs, but only the Flowers addition truly excites us. He's the type of disruptive, movable chess piece Patricia lacked last season, when the Lions had to manufacture a lot of pressure with rather anonymous players, like Romeo Okwara and Devon Kennard.
· We love the Crowder addition, as we touched briefly on in our bigger column praising the early work by the Jets. He's the kind of advanced route runner from the slot who should help maximize the big-play ability of Robby Anderson and Chris Herndon. He'll need to stay healthy and be a bit more consistent after his catch rate declined in a fourth consecutive year, to 59.2 percent. But Sam Darnold should be thrilled to have Crowder in the middle of what could suddenly be a sneaky-solid pass-catching corps.
· We detailed the Alexander signing, one borne somewhat out of necessity but far too lavish and risky for our liking, here.
· Much like Flowers in Detroit, Smith in Green Bay gives Mike Pettine the kind of versatile pass rusher that makes his system go. That the Packers were comfortable giving their "other" signee named Smith $16.5 million annually and $34.5 million guaranteed, after seeing other teams strike out in attempts to raid the Ravens' OLB corps in recent years, is notable but not necessarily a misstep. And we like Preston Smith a lot too, adding a layer of insurance, albeit costly, to their aggressive day.
· We detailed the Amos signing, which helps the Packers but might not hurt the Bears as much as you'd think, here.
· Although we can't pretend to know exactly what Boyle brings to the table as a blocker, and the Ravens' TE jokes certainly are low-hanging fruit, it's notable that the team "ravaged" (Editor's note: no team has earned more compensatory picks than Baltimore, and that won't be changing next year) by free agency more than any thus far opted to lock him up before other teams could approach him.
· A three-year, $21 million extension, though only reportedly $6.5 million guaranteed, for Hart surely signals the Bengals are Super Bowl LIV-bound (kidding).