Former Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort has been released by the Philadelphia Eagles, potentially putting the team’s ability to get a high-round compensatory draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in jeopardy.
Fort signed with the Eagles as a free agent this offseason, one of three major free agent departures, along with running back Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets) and tight end Jesse James (Detroit Lions).
The NFL uses a proprietary formula to assign value to players lost and gained in free agency in order to hand out compensatory picks.
The Steelers signed cornerback Steven Nelson and wide receiver Donte Moncrief. Mark Barron does not count toward the formula because he was released by Los Angeles.
When the Steelers had three players on the negative side of the ledger, they were be expected to get a relatively high pick, due to the value provided by Bell being the highest of the group.
The grading process won’t happen until after the season, but Fort’s value to the Eagles was a key component of the Steelers expecting to get a high return for Bell.
The Steelers have traded their first-round and fifth-round picks in 2020 to Miami for free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Miami’s fourth-round pick and their third-round pick to Denver to move up in the 2019 NFL Draft and select Devin Bush. That leaves the Steeler with just one pick on the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft.