Compensatory draft choices are not the be all, end all factor in determining a player's worth to a team in the NFL, but they are one of the best indicators of success in the NFL.
That's why it's worth noting their omission in a couple articles published in the mainstream media regarding the future of a couple of players in Green Bay.
One article by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggested the Packers might consider keeping Dimitri Nance in favor of Ryan Grant.
The other was a column by Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal saying the Packers should not trade Matt Flynn.
The rationale of keeping Nance is not without merit. Nance's comparatively small salary and upside compared to Grant's much larger salary and perhaps not having much tread left on his tires makes it an interesting discussion.
But in the end, I think the Packers will go with Grant.
He's a tough short-yardage runner with a wealth of experience in the Packers offense and is also well-versed in pass protection, not to mention he's a good locker room guy.
Nance, on the other hand, doesn't strike me as a player who the Packers simply cannot afford to expose to the waiver wire. He seems to have some nice skills, but he's not indispensable (like James Starks).
But what's gone unmentioned is the compensatory pick Grant could gain the Packers next season if he leaves as an unrestricted free agent.
If he stays healthy this season and is reasonably productive, he'll have value on the open market with some team willing to take a chance on him. And with James Starks, Alex Green and John Kuhn all under contract for the next couple seasons, the Packers can afford to let Grant walk.
What round the Packers get in compensation depends largely upon how big of a contract Grant would sign with his next team, and it's impossible to predict that right now.
Regardless, Grant's compensatory pick value should factor into any discussion about the Packers keeping him. And the same goes for Matt Flynn.
If the Packers don't sign Flynn to an extension this year, there's a good probability that he'll leave in free agency next season with the opportunity to become a starter somewhere in the NFL.
Playing time will come sparingly for Flynn this season, but if he happens to see any lengthy playing time and impresses like he did last season against New England, quarterback needy teams should be drooling over him.
It's not out of the question the Packers could get as high as a third round draft choice if he leaves in free agency in the form of a compensatory pick. Granted, that compensation wouldn't come until the 2013 draft.
The point being is, it would be inaccurate to say the Packers will get nothing in return if Flynn leaves via free agency.
In a way, it's hard to blame the writers for not including compensatory picks in their articles. The formula in which the NFL hands out picks is not public knowledge, so it's always difficult to speculate.
But it's becoming tough to deny the link between compensatory picks and success in the NFL.
Since compensatory picks were first awarded in 1994, the teams with the most amount of those types of picks are as follows: Baltimore (31), Philadelphia (29), Tennessee (27), Green Bay (26), New England (26) and St. Louis (26).
In that same time frame, those six teams have combined to win seven Super Bowls and six runner-up appearances.
There's not many greater predictors of success.
As the Packers and the Patriots continue to prove, the draft and develop method to team building is becoming one of the best ways to build a franchise.
For what it's worth, since the last time I wrote about compensatory picks, Atari Bigby and Anthony Smith have signed free agent contracts with the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans respectively.
While those players have to make the 53-man roster for their respective teams in order for the Packers to be awarded compensation for their losses, it only makes it more likely that the Packers will receive the maximum number of compensatory picks in the 2012 Draft (four under the previous collective bargaining agreement).
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