Tom Brady Became Patriots’ Compensatory Pick in 2000 Due to Loss of Four Free Agents

FOXBORO, Mass. — Earlier Saturday, the Patriots tweeted the photo of Tom Brady's official draft card, which was turned in to the NFL to take the Michigan quarterback with the 199th selection in 2000.

You may have noticed, in bright red capital letters, that it was a compensatory selection.

The NFL awards compensatory picks to teams for every draft. The picks are devised by a complicated formula that weighs things such as playing time for free agents who signed with other teams during the previous offseason. For instance, the Patriots lost Mark Anderson to the Bills this offseason, and that could potentially yield a compensatory pick in the 2013 draft.

In 1999, the Patriots lost linebacker Todd Collins, punter Tom Tupa, defensive tackle Mark Wheeler and offensive lineman Dave Wohlabaugh in free agency. As a result, they were awarded four compensatory picks: Nos. 127, 199, 201 and 239.

Because it's a formula, you can't equate an exact one-for-one in terms of the specific lost free agent who netted the 199th pick. For example, you can't just say it was Tupa who yielded the 199th pick.

But now, you've got a new trivia question at your disposal: Which four free agents did the Patriots lose in 1999 who helped them draft Brady with a compensatory pick in 2000?

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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