Vikings Michael Pierce opt-out could cost Ravens NFL Draft pick

Former Ravens nose tackle Michael Pierce is opting out the 2020 season with his new team, the Vikings, which could cost Baltimore a pick in the NFL Draft.

The Baltimore Ravens certainly aren’t alone when it comes to figuring out one of the oddest offseasons in NFL history.

And yet Baltimore could end being a small victim to yet another oddity in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Ravens nose tackle Michael Pierce left the team in free agency during the offseason to sign a three-year, $27 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Not too big a deal, right? After all, the team brought aboard defensive end Calais Campbell to reinforce the defensive line, and interior defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Daylon Mack are returning. Rookies Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington Jr. should compete for roles, too, essentially leaving Pierce as one of those players you might wonder about and briefly follow after his four-year stint in Baltimore.

Yet Pierce’s latest decision to opt out of the 2020 campaign in light of the pandemic creates an interesting wrinkle.

Pierce’s decision was announced on Tuesday by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. And while it creates a hole for Minnesota, it could also potentially affect the Ravens in the 2021 NFL Draft.


Ravens could lose a compensatory draft pick in 2021

Baltimore regularly stocks up on comp picks each year, and it would seem a player like Pierce could qualify for a fifth-round compensatory selection, at least based on this Over the Cap formula. Comp picks aren’t typically announced until the beginning of the league new year in March, and it’s anyone’s guess how the NFL handles opt-outs in light of the pandemic.

And it’s also something OTC’s Nick Korte explained could ultimately cost Baltimore that particular selection:

A player’s pay and playing time factor into the overly complex formula the league uses to determine compensatory picks and into which rounds they fall. Pierce sitting out the entirety of 2020 could ultimately have effects here for Baltimore’s future, even if he fully returns to action for the Vikings in 2021.

Needless to say, it’s quite an interesting development.

The tough part is the Ravens front office won’t fully know until either the league makes a full declaration on how comp picks are to be handled in light of the pandemic and/or they announce picks, preferably earlier than usual to account for what’s been an odd offseason.

Regardless, Baltimore losing a potential draft pick is a bad deal even if Pierce is doing right by himself and ensuring the health of both himself and those closest to him.

Next: Top 5 Ravens fantasy football options in 2020

An odd offseason, indeed.

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