2019 Compensatory Picks Potential

With the deadline for placing the franchise or transition tag on players now in the past, we can take a closer look as to how teams could approach free agency with respect to gaining potential for compensatory picks a year from now. A few of the factors that come into judging potential for each team are as follows:

  • The quantity of unrestricted free agents eligible for the compensatory formula. Teams with more pending UFAs will have more opportunities for players to count in their comp pick formula on the positive side of compensatory free agents (CFAs) lost. Teams that lose a high quantity of CFAs may also be able to sign low level CFAs of their own without risking the cancellation of higher valued CFAs.You can take a look at all UFAs by going to OTC’s main free agency page, and filter the list by UFA.
  • The quality of unrestricted free agents eligible for the compensatory formula. Teams that have a low number of pending UFAs may still have one or two players that are expected to garner a high level contract elsewhere. In this case, these teams may try to eschew signing CFAs at all to ensure that they can get a high comp pick for the high level players in question.OTC’s 2018 Top 100 Free Agents list is a good place to go to see which UFAs may be valued higher than a 7th rounder in the comp pick formula should they sign with a new team.
  • Salary cap space. Teams with a low amount of cap space may naturally get some comp picks simply because they’re unable to spend much in free agency. Teams with the most cap space, even if they have a high quantity or quality of CFAs lost, may have no choice to cancel them out in an effort to improve their roster.As always, you can find OTC’s real time estimates of each team’s cap space here.

Below is a breakdown of each team’s 2019 compensatory pick potential. Note that OTC Top 100 Free Agents that have been franchise or transition tagged are excluded from their respective team’s sum.

Bills

Pending UFAs: 18
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Among starters, Jordan Matthews, Preston Brown, Ramon Humber and EJ Gaines are all seeing contracts expire. The 34 year old Kyle Williams can’t be ruled out either despite being a longtime Bill. With 18 total pending UFAs to work with, Brandon Beane can certainly work the compensatory pick formula if he so chooses to despite not having big stars set to hit the market. Potential: Moderate

Dolphins

Pending UFAs: 16
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

Jarvis Landry has been franchise tagged, but the Dolphins are also trying to trade him. Should Landry sign the tag, he will be out of compensatory pick consideration no matter what. But if the Dolphins rescind the tag before he signs, he will go back in the formula, like Josh Norman did for the Panthers when he left for DC. The Dolphins don’t have much else to work with (unless you think Jay Cutler will stay out of retirement for anyone other than the Dolphins), but cramped cap space could naturally create comp picks for the Dolphins even if Landry doesn’t yield them anything. Potential: Moderate

Patriots

Pending UFAs: 13
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Malcolm Butler and Nate Solder are two big names hitting unrestricted free agency at very valuable positions. Add on some mid level CFA candidates like Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle, and Johnson Bademosi, and the Patriots, as usual, have an opportunity to expand their 2019 draft pick slate. Potential: High

Jets

Pending UFAs: 16
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 5

The Jets have plenty of pending UFAs, and they also have several names that could be intriguing on the open market but aren’t stone cold locks to get large contracts. Those are players like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Morris Claiborne, Kony Ealy, Demario Davis, and even the well traveled Josh McCown. That’s something for the Jets to work with, but the question is whether they can afford to eschew unrestricted free agency with high cap space and at the point their franchise is in. Potential: Low

Ravens

Pending UFAs: 12
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

Possible comp pick candidates for Ozzie Newsome this year could include Mike Wallace, Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Ryan Jensen, and James Hurst. Brandon Carr might have his option declined, and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett can’t be counted out either. That’s something for the Ravens to work with. The question is how much the team will want to stay out of free agency, something they haven’t been myopic about in recent years. Potential: Moderate

Bengals

Pending UFAs: 10
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

Tyler Eifert is the leading name by far for the Bengals. The question is whether or not his recent stint on IR will hurt his value. Beyond Eifert, Jeremy Hill, Russell Bodine, Kevin Minter, and perhaps Andre Smith are the other starting level players with expiring contracts. The Bengals do have a history of emphasizing collecting compensatory picks, so they can’t be counted off even if Eifert does not get a big contract, or is retained by the Bengals. Potential: Moderate

Browns

Pending UFAs: 4
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

With the Browns fully embracing an emphasis on getting players from the draft, it results with Cleveland having only four pending UFAs for 2018, easily the lowest in the league. One of them is Isaiah Crowell who could get a decent deal elsewhere, but with so few CFA candidates and high cap space coming off an 0-16 season it strikes as unlikely that the Browns will abstain completely from external CFAs just to get a comp pick for Crowell. Potential: Very Low

Steelers

Pending UFAs: 6
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

With Le’Veon Bell receiving a second straight franchise tag, the Steelers have only 6 other pending UFAs. Chris Hubbard may be a dark horse candidate to get a reasonable contract in a thin right tackle market, but there’s not much else to work with. Thus, the Steelers may see another draft not bolstered by comp picks.  Potential: Very Low

Texans

Pending UFAs: 16
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

Tom Savage may not get a big deal as far as quarterbacks are concerned, but even a standard backup veteran contract could return something better than a 7th round comp pick. Left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo and longtime cornerback Johnathan Joseph also have expiring contracts. There’s a decent change for the Texans to pick up comp picks for a second straight season if they care work on it. Potential: Moderate

Colts

Pending UFAs: 13
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Donte Moncrief, Jack Mewhort, and Rashaan Melvin are the main young names to watch. The ageless Frank Gore will also be allowed to go to free agency, as is longtime vet Darius Butler. If lower level CFAs leave the Colts can also get some padding to sign external CFAs while still preserving possible comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Jaguars

Pending UFAs: 8
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

For the first time in a long time, the Jaguars might have a fighting chance to get compensatory picks. This is especially true with Allen Robinson not getting tagged. Fellow wide receiver Marqise Lee is someone that could depart for a decent deal as well. Aaron Colvin could get more playing time not being alongside Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye. Even backup quarterback Chad Henne could fetch a comp pick worthy deal. What works against this is that the Jaguars have only a total of 8 pending UFAs, and a reasonable amount of cap space even after extending Blake Bortles. This is a team that has not been afraid to be aggressive in free agency, but unlike in past years this time they do have possible departing CFAs that they could cancel out if they do so. Potential: Moderate

Titans

Pending UFAs: 9
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

The Titans only have 9 pending UFAs, and Eric Decker may be the only one that could fetch anything more than a 7th round comp pick. With plenty of cap space in hand and still more work to do to get the Titans to the top, they’ll likely continue to pursue some external CFAs to get them where they want to be. Potential: Very Low

Broncos

Pending UFAs: 10
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

Currently the Broncos have few UFA concerns. Linebackers Todd Davis and Corey Nelson and tight end Virgil Green would be the leading names, and Cody Latimer might be able to fetch a decent special teams contract if the Broncos don’t retain him. But this might be the rare year under John Elway in which the Broncos forego comp picks, especially if they are active in the veteran quarterback market.   Potential: Low

Chiefs

Pending UFAs: 17
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Bennie Logan signed a 1-year “prove it” deal last year, and now we’ll see if he’s proven enough to get a good long term deal. Albert Wilson is another name that’s getting some buzz in the wide receiver market. The Chiefs also have their longtime punter (Dustin Colquitt) hitting the market. Kansas City also has a decent quantity of pending UFAs to work with, but unless Logan and/or Wilson walk for a big deal elsewhere the Chiefs might not get more than 6th or 7th round comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Chargers

Pending UFAs: 13
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

The most notable pending UFA is 37 year old Antonio Gates, and it would be jarring to see him wear anything else than a Chargers jersey before his career ends. There are some other lower profile players like Tenny Palepoi or Branden Oliver that could sign elsewhere as CFAs, but the Chargers should not expect a lot of comp picks to come out of their UFA slate. Potential: Low

Raiders

Pending UFAs: 10
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

The Raiders got 4 comp picks in the 6th round from free agency defection last year when they had 10 CFAs leave to go elsewhere. This year, they only have 10 CFA candidates total. Of them, Justin Ellis, Denico Autry, and TJ Carrie may be the only notable ones, with late acquisition NaVarro Bowman a possibility as well. Reggie McKenzie comes from the Ted Thompson tree that prioritizes comp picks, and his 2018 haul in the 6th round should prove that, but there may not be much to work with for 2019. Potential: Low

Cowboys

Pending UFAs: 10
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

With DeMarcus Lawrence having signed his franchise tag, the Cowboys now have only 10 pending UFAs left, and few of them are of note. The likes of Anthony Hitchens or Alfred Morris may not be enough to be worth it for the Cowboys to pursue compensatory picks this year. Potential: Very Low

Giants

Pending UFAs: 18
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

The Giants have two starting interior offensive linemen in Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg with expiring contracts.  This would make them prime comp pick candidates should they leave. Among Pugh and Richburg, the Giants have a high number of pending UFAs, so they could also tack on some other lower comp picks for the likes of Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, or Jonathan Casillas. Potential: High

Eagles

Pending UFAs: 13
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

With all of the Eagles’ star players extended they have, they have very little cap space to work with. That could naturally put them in play for comp picks if they’re unable to sign any CFAs of note. There aren’t many notable names among their pending UFAs, but the few that are could get the Eagles more than just 7th rounders. Those players to keep an eye on include Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton, and Patrick Robinson. Potential: Moderate

Redskins

Pending UFAs: 18
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 7

Kirk Cousins will become the very rare starting QB in his prime to enter unrestricted free agency. If the Redskins play their cards correctly, they should secure the highest compensatory pick to be awarded at 97th overall in 2018. The Redskins, a team that likes to participate aggressively in free agency, has to be careful not to cancel out Cousins. But even beyond him, Washington has a high quantity of pending UFAs to deal with. They also have a high quality: among them include Bashaud Breeland, Trent Murphy, Zach Brown, and Ryan Grant. Compensatory picks are rare in DC, but this might be the year where their usual drought gets snapped. Potential: Very High

Bears

Pending UFAs: 18
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

As is usually the case for Chicago, they have a high quantity of pending UFAs but a low quality, especially with Kyle Fuller now getting the transition tag. The Bears typically do not care about compensatory picks and there’s little to suggest that that will change now, especially with the Bears possessing a high amount of cap space. Potential: Very Low

Lions

Pending UFAs: 16
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

With Ziggy Ansah’s path to free agency impeded by the franchise tag, that could mean good news for starters like Travis Swanson or Tahir Whitehead who will enter the market unimpeded. With 16 total pending UFAs the Lions have plenty of flexibility to push for 2019 compensatory picks if they’re unable or unwilling to retain some of their own. Potential: Moderate

Packers

Pending UFAs: 10
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 1

With Ted Thompson and his famous aversion to CFAs no longer in the head seat in Green Bay, it will be interesting to see if anything changes with the Packers. Successor Brian Gutekunst has only 10 pending UFAs after starters like Davante Adams and Corey Linsley were extended. With only the likes of Morgan Burnett or Richard Rodgers remaining, this suggests that the Packers don’t have much to work with, but this is Green Bay being talked about, so they can’t be counted out yet until we see it before our eyes. Potential: Low

Vikings

Pending UFAs: 13
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 5

Has there ever been a team that has three (albeit debated) starting caliber QBs hitting the market at once? That’s what the Vikings have on hand with Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater. Even if the Vikings retain one of them or sign another veteran QB that would cancel out the loss of one of them, the other two could yield high compensatory picks for 2019 even if they’re on backup deals. Jerick McKinnon is also another CFA candidate for the Vikings as they’ll have Dalvin Cook coming off IR and Latavius Murray still under contract. With the Vikings in a much better position now to hold off on signing CFAs from other teams, they could be in a great position to reap the benefits. Potential: Very High

Falcons

Pending UFAs: 15
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Dontari Poe signed a one year “prove it” deal with the Falcons last year, and we’ll see if he has indeed proved it for 2018. Adrian Clayborn is coming off one of the best years of his career with an expiring deal on hand in Atlanta. Taylor Gabriel may be able to get a starting wide receiver deal. These pending UFAs, plus lower cap space compared to other teams, could yield some decent compensatory picks for Atlanta in 2019. Potential: High

Panthers

Pending UFAs: 12
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Andrew Norwell is expected to get a big contract, either from the Panthers or elsewhere. 2013 first round pick Star Lotulelei’s rookie contract is expiring, and given the money already dedicated to Kawann Short retaining him may not be practical. Ed Dickson and the ageless Julius Peppers also have contracts expiring. That could give Carolina something to work with for 2019 comp picks if they so choose, though they may need to hold off signing some CFAs to make it happen. Potential: High

Saints

Pending UFAs: 19
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Drew Brees has set up his contractual situation in a way where the Saints cannot prevent him from hitting the open market if he so chooses. Most signs point to Brees staying in New Orleans, and even if he did walk, because he has well over 10 accrued seasons the maximum the Saints could get from him via a comp pick is a 5th rounder. Plus, they might have to sign a CFA quarterback of their own to replace him. Besides Brees, the Saints do have 18 other pending UFAs, and one of them is 2013 first round pick Kenny Vaccaro, a player that could fetch a decent comp pick. On the other hand, no team may care less about compensatory picks than the Saints, so it’s best to lean toward the assumption that that trend will hold. Potential: Low

Buccaneers

Pending UFAs: 14
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 2

Tampa Bay has a decent quantity of CFA candidates, but most of the notable ones are older players like TJ Ward, Brent Grimes, or the well traveled Ryan Fitzpatrick. Left guard Kevin Pamphile may be the only notable younger player with an expiring contract. There’s no obvious candidate for a high comp pick like there was for Mike Glennon last year, so the Bucs may be better suited to improve their roster via CFA signings. Potential: Low

Cardinals

Pending UFAs: 19
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

The Cardinals are similar to the Bucs with many pending UFAs that also mainly consist of older players. Two exceptions are similarly named wide receivers in John Brown and Jaron Brown, and Justin Bethel may be able to get a better deal that they previous extension he signed to stay in Arizona. The question for the Cardinals will be whether or not they want to turn over an older roster into a younger one. Potential: Moderate

Rams

Pending UFAs: 12
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 4

Trumaine Johnson will finally be allowed to enter free agency after two successive franchise tags. The Rams may finally end up yielding the high compensatory pick for him that they could have in years past. The Rams gave up a 2nd round pick to get Sammy Watkins in a contract year, and if they don’t retain them it’s feasible they could get a high comp pick for him to partially offset what they gave up for him. Nickell Robey-Coleman, Connor Barwin and John Sullivan are other starters or notable backups that could yield decent deals. The Rams do have a fairly high amount of cap space so they spend on other CFAs if they so choose, but if they don’t they’ll well positioned to yield 2019 comp picks. Potential: High

49ers

Pending UFAs: 15
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 3

Eric Reid, Carlos Hyde, and Tank Carradine are young starters slated to hit the UFA market. However, the 49ers will have the most 2018 cap space in the league and their roster still has a lot of work to do to become a contender. It would not be surprising to see San Francisco either invest big money either in their own CFA candidates, or invest in external CFAs. Potential: Low

Seahawks

Pending UFAs: 16
OTC Top 100 Free Agents: 5

John Schneider is well known in emphasizing compensatory pick acquisition, and they’re set up well to do so for the 2019 draft. Like the Rams, they have the ability to recoup some draft capital from the 2nd rounder they gave up for Sheldon Richardson should he walk. Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson, DeShawn Shead, Byron Maxwell, Eddie Lacy, and Luke Joeckel all have expiring contracts as well.  Add in 2018 cap space that’s on the lower end and it seems likely that the Seahawks will get several 2019 compensatory picks, with some of them high ones. Potential: Very High

Questions about this article? Reach Nick on Twitter at @nickkorte