The league will not hold a supplemental draft in 2021, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the decision.
Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL has the right to decide whether to conduct a supplemental draft each year. Last year, the league decided against holding the event largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the league cancelled last year's supplemental draft, it informed prospective supplemental draft picks they would not gain free-agent status but could instead enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Essentially, those looking to latch on with a team in the summer instead had to wait nine months for a chance. It is realistic to expect the league to deliver the same directive to those hoping to enter the supplemental draft this year.
Supplemental drafts operate differently than the annual draft, with teams instead submitting bids on prospects based on the round in which they'd like to select a player. If they are awarded the player, they then forfeit their equivalent pick in the traditional draft in the following year. For example, Baylor receiver Josh Gordon entered the 2012 supplemental draft and was selected by the Cleveland Browns, who secured his rights by submitting a second-round bid on Gordon, the highest bid made by any team on Gordon. Cleveland then forfeited its second-round pick in the 2013 draft.
A year earlier, it was the then-Oakland Raiders who won the rights to quarterback Terrelle Pryor with a third-round bid. Pryor had entered the supplemental draft following his suspension and eventual ban from Ohio State.
The most recent supplemental draft (2019) saw one player selected: Washington State defensive back Jalen Thompson. He headed to Arizona after the Cardinals added him via a fifth-round selection.