2017 Compensatory Pick Projection For The Dolphins

Due to the complexity of scenarios for the Miami Dolphins regarding the projection of the 2017 compensatory draft picks, I have decided to write this separate article to better explain all the possible scenarios for them.  I have written a similar article for the Denver Broncos here, and you may find the leaguewide projection here at OTC tomorrow, on January 7.  Please also reference this article explaining the compensatory draft pick system in general.

The Final Projection

I am projecting that the Dolphins will receive a 3rd round comp pick (for Olivier Vernon) and a 5th round comp pick (for Lamar Miller).  Here is how the cancellation chart looks for Miami:


Qualifying UFAs Lost: 5Qualifying UFAs Gained: 3
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Olivier Vernon3$16,750,00020
Lamar Miller5$6,500,000216
Rishard Matthews5$5,000,000284Andre Branch6$2,703,125477
Derrick Shelby6$4,450,000378Isa Abdul-Quddus6$4,250,000309
Kelvin Sheppard7$840,000965Sam Young7$860,000985

In addition, keep in mind that when the Dolphins traded up for Leonte Carroo in the 2016 NFL Draft, one of the conditions of the trade with the Minnesota Vikings is that the Dolphins would give them the lowest 4th round pick in their possession in the 2017 NFL Draft–regular or compensatory.  Because I’m not projecting that the Dolphins will receive a 4th round compensatory pick, this would mean that the Dolphins would owe the Vikings their regular 4th rounder.

However, take note that there are several players on or near the cutoff bubbles, and I could be wrong about several aspects of the Dolphins’ projections, including but not limited to the Carroo trade.  Let’s step through each of those possible scenarios.

Lamar Miller is valued as a 4th

While I’m projecting that Miller is a 5th, he is only six players below the 4th/5th cutoff player of Danny Trevathan (a player also significant for the Broncos’ comp pick hopes).  Had he been named to the Pro Bowl, or if he wasn’t deactivated the final two weeks of the season in anticipation for the Texans’ playoff push, there’s a good chance he would have jumped into the 4th round in my projection

But if I’m wrong about the cutoff and Miller becomes a 4th anyway, as described above this means that the Dolphins would send the 4th round comp pick for him to the Vikings, and that they would retain their regular 4th round pick.

Sam Young does not qualify for the compensatory formula, Kelvin Sheppard does, and Rishard Matthews is valued as a 5th.

I will be very curious to see how the NFL Management Council treats Sam Young’s contract.  On March 9, Young signed a one year, $910,000 deal as a UFA from the Jaguars.  However, $50,000 of that was in the form of a workout bonus, money that has long been established as not counting in the compensatory formula.  The remainder of of his contract featured a veteran minimum salary of $760,000 and a signing bonus of $100,000.

Young also failed to make the Dolphins’ initial roster, but was then brought back Week 6 at the veteran minimum.  These transactions alone do not automatically disqualify Young from the formula, as players cut before the regular season but brought back before Week 10 do still count.  However, I have yet to discover if the APY of such a player is demoted, as Young was obviously not paid for the weeks he was not on the Dolphins’ roster.  If such a demotion does occur, then Young definitely will not qualify.  However, even if the full $860,000 is counted, I’m projecting that Young is literally the bubble player for qualifying for the compensatory formula. Thus, I would put it at coin flip odds as to whether or not he’ll count as a CFA against the Dolphins.

Sheppard’s situation is less complicated: he signed a simple $840,000 minimum salary benefit deal with the Giants.  Because he outplayed this deal by starting 11 games for New York and playing in 41% of the defensive snaps, this was good enough to push him 20 players above Young, and qualifying in favor of the Dolphins.

If I’ve slightly overestimated the qualification cutoff, and it comes in between Sheppard and Young, that could be good news for the Dolphins, as they would at the very least be eligible for another compensatory pick.  However, in order to actually get it they would need Rishard Matthews to be valued as a 5th round pick in the formula, instead of a 6th.  I have Matthews 10 spots above the 5th/6th bubble player (Leonard Williams), close enough that I could be wrong about his valuation.

If Matthews is indeed valued as a 5th, Sam Young does not qualify, and Kelvin Sheppard does qualify, the Dolphins would get an extra 5th round comp pick for Matthews, as illustrated below:

Qualifying UFAs Lost: 5Qualifying UFAs Gained: 2
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Olivier Vernon3$16,750,00020
Lamar Miller5$6,500,000216
Rishard Matthews5$5,000,000284
Derrick Shelby6$4,450,000378Andre Branch6$2,703,125477
Kelvin Sheppard7$840,000965Isa Abdul-Quddus6$4,250,000309
Non-Qualifying UFAs LostNon-Qualifying UFAs Gained
Sam Young7$860,000985

However, if Matthews is valued as a 6th, then he must be cancelled out by one of the two 6th round valued CFAs gained.  The comp pick opened up would instead be a 7th for Sheppard.  However, because he would be one of the lowest valued comp picks awarded, this pick would fail to make the 32 pick limit, meaning the Dolphins would still only get one 3rd and one 5th, as illustrated below:

Qualifying UFAs Lost: 5Qualifying UFAs Gained: 2
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Olivier Vernon3$16,750,00020
Lamar Miller5$6,500,000216
Rishard Matthews6$5,000,000284Isa Abdul-Quddus6$4,250,000309
Derrick Shelby6$4,450,000378Andre Branch6$2,703,125477
Kelvin Sheppard7$840,000965
Non-Qualifying UFAs LostNon-Qualifying UFAs Gained
Sam Young7$860,000985

Both Sam Young and Kelvin Sheppard do not qualify for the compensatory formula.

If I overestimate the qualification cutoff even further, and it is above both Young and Sheppard, then nothing changes for the Dolphins’ projection, as both would have cancelled each other out anyway, as this chart shows:

Qualifying UFAs Lost: 4Qualifying UFAs Gained: 2
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Olivier Vernon3$16,750,00020
Lamar Miller5$6,500,000216
Rishard Matthews6$5,000,000284Isa Abdul-Quddus6$4,250,000309
Derrick Shelby6$4,450,000378Andre Branch6$2,703,125477
Non-Qualifying UFAs LostNon-Qualifying UFAs Gained
Kelvin Sheppard7$840,000965Sam Young7$860,000985

Sam Young qualifies and Kelvin Sheppard does not qualify

This is the most unlikely altering scenario, as I believe that because Sheppard played more and was on the roster longer than Young was, Sheppard should be ranked above Young.  But if I’m wrong about that, and the qualification cutoff lies between them, then that’s bad news for the Dolphins, as Young would be forced to cancel out Miller, despite the difference in rounds between them.  That would mean that the only comp pick the Dolphins would get is the 3rd for Vernon, as illustrated below:

Qualifying UFAs Lost: 4Qualifying UFAs Gained: 3
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Olivier Vernon3$16,750,00020
Lamar Miller5$6,500,000216Sam Young7$860,000985
Rishard Matthews6$5,000,000284Isa Abdul-Quddus6$4,250,000309
Derrick Shelby6$4,450,000378Andre Branch6$2,703,125477
Non-Qualifying UFAs LostNon-Qualifying UFAs Gained
Kelvin Sheppard7$840,000965

Do note that in every one of these scenarios, the 3rd round comp pick for Vernon is in no danger of being cancelled out or being demoted.  This makes sense, as the Dolphins took special care to ensure that they would get that pick by rescinding the transition tag they had initially placed upon him.  Further proof that the Dolphins were very mindful of utilizing the compensatory pick system in their favor can also be found in this interview of Drew Rosenhaus on a local Miami radio station, as he expresses his frustration with the Dolphins and other teams working the formula to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of his clients.

  • Dan Kunze

    Amazing work again, Nick. Well done.

    • Nick

      Thank you!

  • Herb Hovest

    Nick, how well do you think the Dolphins know how everybody will get assigned? Are they just projecting similar to you or would they have more insight?