With today opening the period when Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) can begin negotiations with teams other than their own, and free agency officially starting on Wednesday, it also marks the beginning of the formation of the list of 2017 compensatory draft picks. This is a process that will take a little more than one year to complete: it begins on March 9 with the start of free agency, and will likely end on the second to last Monday of 2017 (perhaps March 20, 2017) when the list is officially given to NFL front offices at the league’s annual meeting. Here is what you can expect at OTC as we lead you through this process.
March 9 to May 12(?): Addition of compensatory free agents (CFAs) to OTC’s compensatory pick tracker
The two pages that you should keep bookmarked through this process are the following:
- OTC’s main draft page, containing the comp pick list on the right.
- OTC compensatory pick cancellation chart, illustrating team-by-team how CFA losses are offset by CFA gains.
In addition, feel free to reference our basics and methodology page for any general questions you may have. Perhaps the most important thing to remember at the beginning of the process is that only UFAs whose contracts expired or were voided can become CFAs, and not Street Free Agents (SFAs) that were cut or did not receive restricted tenders. The NFL will issue a press release on March 9 containing the entire list of UFAs, which will likely be found on the NFL Communications website.
As the media reports on the deals struck during free agency, I will add them to the database and they will show up on the relevant comp pick pages. Updates will progress in real time along with free agency. This year, I plan to provide commentary on signings via my Twitter account at @nickkorte: if you have any questions or any tips on the value of contracts, please send me a tweet there. The most important piece of knowledge I need to know is the Average Per Year (APY) of the contract, less workout bonuses which do not count in the compensatory formula.
Please note that the values of some CFAs may frequently change through free agency. Some of it will come from learning better details of the contract, but the main reason is that year, OTC will be testing a new method of setting the cutoffs for each round. This is based upon the discovery made on December 2, 2015 that the cutoffs may operate on a percentile basis ranked against the rest of the league’s players. The cutoffs listed on the cancellation chart for 2017 have been auto-programmed with OTC’s database to adjust when new signings are made. For this reason, the current cutoffs should steadily rise as more lucrative contracts are signed, and some players may be initially valued at a higher round, but will ultimately settle in a lower round.
The addition of players to the comp pick database should end on or near May 12, the new deadline for UFAs to become CFAs. It is uncertain at this point as to whether May 12 will always be the cutoff date, or if it will adjust with respect to the end of the draft. We will assume that the date is still May 12 unless other information suggests otherwise. I will definitely write an update on the comp pick list on this day; I may write an additional update before this, after the 2016 comp picks are announced in case any new discoveries alter the program further.
August 30 to September 3: Cutdown of rosters from 90 to 75 to 53
It is likely that some CFAs will be among these cuts. Expect an article updating the progress on or near September 3.
September 12 to January 2, 2017 (entire regular season): Weekly snap count adjustments
As the value of CFAs are adjusted based upon their playing time, on approximately every Tuesday during the regular season the snap count data will be updated, which could cause the values of certain players to rise or fall that change the comp pick list.
November 15 (after Week 10 has concluded): Deadline for cut CFAs to no longer qualify for the formula.
Prior to this date, any CFA cut no longer counts in the compensatory formula. After this date, however, such players will still count even if they are cut before the regular season ends. Expect an article updating the progress on or near November 15.