Now that the final cutdown to 53 man rosters have taken place, it’s time to take a look at how the standings in the 2016 compensatory picks have changed in the nearly four months since this was last visited. Out of the 142 UFAs that signed with different teams during the 2015 offseason, 17 of them failed to make their new team’s roster, while 2 others were placed on injured reserve that should preclude them from qualifying for the compensatory formula. Let’s take a look at those UFA transactions that have caused changes to the 2016 projections.
- Buffalo: When the Bucs cut Larry Dean it removed a projected 6th for the Bills for CJ Spiller. However, as I’ll explain later I think the Bills will get this pick in the end.
- Carolina: They are still stuck on a net-value 7th that’s well below the 32-pick limit. Although they cut Jason Trusnik to reduce their UFAs gained, the Raiders cutting James Dockery also reduced the Panthers’ UFAs lost. If the Panthers really want that 3rd round comp pick for Greg Hardy, they’ll have to cut Charles Tillman or Kurt Coleman to make that happen.
- Cincinnati: Cutting Denarius Moore and Josh Johnson opened up a possible 7th for Marshall Newhouse, but he’s currently 34th in line and thus below the 32 pick limit.
- Dallas: Cutting Jed Collins earned the Cowboys a 6th for Justin Durant. However, Anthony Spencer going on IR for the Saints will put him in risk of not qualifying, meaning that the Durant pick could possibly go off the board once again.
- Detroit: The retirement of Corey Hilliard and the Cowboys’ cutting of Jed Collins removed (unlikely) chances that the Lions could get a 7th for either one of them. However, this had no impact on their projection of getting the top 3rd for Ndamukong Suh, as well as a 5th for Nick Fairley.
- Minnesota: When the Vikings cut Taylor Mays and placed Casey Matthews on IR, they picked up chances to get 7ths for Christian Ponder and Vladimir Ducasse. However, the Raiders subsequently cutting Ponder removed him from any comp pick consideration; and as a backup O-lineman on a minimum salary benefit contract, it’s highly unlikely Ducasse will qualify or make the 32-pick limit. Thus, I would not count on the Vikings getting any comp picks in 2016.
- San Francisco: When the Bengals cut Josh Johnson it removed a projected 6th for the 49ers for Dan Skuta. However, as I’ll explain later I think the 49ers will get this pick in the end.
The end result is the list on the right. However, this list is far from final. The remaining adjustments to be made will be the playing time and postseason honors adjustments that will be known for sure when the regular season concludes. The exact adjustments can’t be predicted for sure, of course. However, there are four particular playing time adjustments that I’m guessing will remove two compensatory picks from this list, and add two others that were previously listed.
- I think Sam Acho ($825,000 APY) might not qualify, and that would cost the Cardinals their only compensatory pick, a 5th for Dan Williams. I think Acho will need to play at least 50% of the defensive snaps with the Bears to qualify, and with the team signing Pernell McPhee to a big contract, and the continued presence of Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, that might be a difficult goal for Acho to attain.
- I think Seyi Ajirotutu ($825,000 APY) might not qualify, and that could cost the Chargers their possible 6th for Ryan Mathews. Ajirotutu appears likely to get only special teams snaps that won’t count in the compensatory formula, and it could cause him to be devalued enough to the point that he won’t qualify.
- I think Nick Bellore ($780,000 APY) might not qualify, and that could earn the 49ers a 6th for Dan Skuta. The story behind Bellore is similar to Ajirotutu–a likely exclusive special teamer that won’t get enough other snaps to get past the qualification threshold.
- I think Alex Carrington ($825,000 APY) might not qualify, and that could earn the Bills a 6th for CJ Spiller. Like Acho, he’ll likely need at least 50% of the defensive snaps to qualify, and being buried on the depth chart could hurt his cause, even as a D-lineman in a rotation.
In addition, I see a fierce competition for the rights to the Mr. Irrelevant pick between the Seahawks, Broncos, and Bengals. Seattle currently holds it for O’Brien Schofield ($1.7 million APY), but Jacob Tamme for Denver ($1.6 million APY) and Marshall Newhouse for Cincinnati ($1.425 million APY) will be within striking distance. Tamme and Schofield are both now on the Falcons and both are poised for more playing time than anticipated, with Tamme being one of only two tight ends on the roster, and Schofield possibly getting more snaps due to the injury to Brooks Reid. Newhouse, meanwhile, appears poised to start at right tackle for the Giants, and starting O-linemen have a habit of playing almost all of the snaps. The order between these three could go many ways.
Also, since I’m sure Ravens fans will be very interested due to Ozzie Newsome’s excelling of getting comp picks, I do not think that Tyrod Taylor will be able to jump any of those three, despite the fact that he’s won the starting QB job in Buffalo. Remember that incentives do not count in the compensatory formula, so his APY will remain unchanged in that regard. And even if he plays 100% of the snaps, the program still did not have him listed any higher. As odd as it may seem, I would not count on Taylor getting above the 32-pick limit.
After Week 1 is in the books, I will attempt an experiment of adding in the snap counts after that week to see how it adjusts the constitution and order of the comp picks. If I feel that such an adjustment will be insightful, I may continue to update the snap counts from time to time as the regular season progresses. If I do this, in addition to the four changes (ARI and SD losing picks, SF and BUF gaining picks) and the Mr. Irrelevant battle I explained above, I would guess that the following changes in round placement would also take place:
- Julius Thomas getting demoted to a 4th for Denver for sustaining (another) injury that could keep him out for the first month of the regular season.
- Jermey Parnell getting promoted to a 4th for Dallas, as starting O-linemen tend to play almost all the available offensive snaps.
- Vince Wilfork getting promoted to a 5th for New England, if he’s able to equal the 73.6% of defensive snaps that he played in last year.
- Brice McCain getting promoted to a 6th for Pittsburgh, as he’s right on the 6th/7th bubble and just needs to play more than half of the defensive snaps to get into the projected 6th round range.
As always, if you’re looking for more clarity for these finding, take a look at the cancellation chart for more information.