2023 Compensatory Picks Update (5/24/2022)

Normally, once the first Monday after the draft passes, I take a look at where OTC’s projection for the next slate of compensatory picks stands. This year, however, I decided to wait a couple of weeks to see if a couple of unusual transactions would yield additions and changes to the projection–which indeed happened. We’ll dig into that, as well as other unusual circumstances of this year’s projection thus far below. But first, if you have any questions about how this projection is generated, please take a look at the cancellation charts for all 32 teams here, and also refer to OTC’s compensatory formula page as a reference for where certain contracts are ranked. Also note that special compensatory picks generated from 2020 Resolution JC-2A are separate from the regular compensatory pick formula and thus are not addressed here.

TeamRdCompensated Departure
ARI3Christian Kirk
NE3J.C. Jackson
WAS3Brandon Scherff
DAL4Randy Gregory
ARI5Chandler Jones
GB5Marquez Valdes-Scantling
LAR5Darious Williams
SF5D.J. Jones
NYG5Evan Engram
LAR5Austin Corbett
LV5Zay Jones
TB5Jordan Whitehead
LAR6Sebastian Joseph-Day
DAL6Connor Williams
NE6Ted Karras
DAL6Cedrick Wilson Jr.
MIN6Xavier Woods
ARI6Chase Edmonds
MIN6Mason Cole
LV6Quinton Jefferson
KC6Melvin Ingram
SF7Arden Key
WAS7Tim Settle
TB7O.J. Howard
KC7Jarran Reed
LV7Nicholas Morrow
LAR7Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
NYG7Keion Crossen
NO7Net Value
TBD7Supplemental comp pick
TBD7Supplemental comp pick
TBD7Supplemental comp pick

Let’s start with the unusual factor that delayed this update by two weeks. Two players, Melvin Ingram and Justin Houston, received the rare UFA tender. For compensatory pick purposes, it opens up the window when those players can count in the formula. Both of their former teams, the Chiefs and Ravens, would be eligible to pick up a comp pick if they signed elsewhere for a high enough APY before July 22.

The move has paid off for at least the Chiefs thus far, as Ingram signed a one year, $4 million contract with the Dolphins on May 18. That should be good enough to place Ingram’s contract on the 6th/7th round cutoff level. It is currently projected as a 6th rounder based upon Ingram’s snap count average over the past four seasons, and he will likely need play in about 50% of the snaps in 2023 for it to not fall to a 7th rounder.

Houston, meanwhile, has yet to sign, and whether he is able to sign elsewhere before July 22 will determine whether one of the most impressive compensatory pick streaks comes to a close. The Ravens have been awarded at least one comp pick in the previous 12 drafts, which is the current active record. However, currently they are stuck with two compensatory free agents lost (Anthony Averett, Bradley Bozeman), and two signed (Marcus Williams, Morgan Moses), leaving them off the board entirely. Given how expertly the Ravens have navigated the comp pick formula in their entire existence, it’ll be quite the historic moment when it ends.

There is another team that is stuck at two CFAs lost and two signed, however, that leads to the next unusual aspect of this projection. That would be the Saints, who are currently projected to get a “net value” compensatory pick in the 7th round, after all other regular compensatory picks. A net value pick has not been awarded since 2013, when the Colts and Giants each got one. Appendix V, Paragraph 5 of the CBA explains how net value picks are awarded, as follows:

Notwithstanding Paragraph 3(a) above, if a Club loses the same number of CFAs as it signs or acquires, it will receive a Compensatory Draft Selection if the sum of the Final Numerical Values of all CFAs lost is more than 300 points greater than the sum of the Final Numerical Values of all CFAs signed or acquired by the Club. Any such selection shall occur after all Compensatory Draft Selections at the end of the seventh round have been exercised […]

In the Saints’ case, they saw two CFAs depart for large contracts in Terron Armstead ($15M APY) and Marcus Williams ($14M APY). The two CFAs they signed, however, were for far less: Marcus Maye ($7.5M APY) and Andy Dalton ($3M APY). Translated into the Final Numerical Values projected by OTC’s comp pick program, that’s a difference of about 713 points, well above the 300 point threshold described above. Unless the Saints get lucky and Dalton’s somehow does not qualify for CFA status due to lack of snaps, it appears likely this net value pick will instead be awarded.

For the final unusual aspect, this will also likely be the first time since 2012 when fewer than 32 regular compensatory picks are generated, as currently only 29 such picks are on the board. When that happens, Article 6, Section 2(a) of the CBA is invoked, as follows:

If in any League Year the number of Compensatory Draft Selections awarded in the Draft for that League Year is less than the number of Clubs then in the League, an additional number of selection choices shall be awarded to Clubs based upon Draft selection order (“Supplemental Selections”), so that the combined number of Compensatory Draft Selections and Supplemental Selections equals the total number of Clubs then in the League.

Think of these supplemental comp picks as a brief extension into the 8th round, if the 8th round existed. With 29 regular comp picks, three teams will each be awarded one of these supplemental comp picks to get the number to a round 32. Since the order is based on the inverted standings, they would go to three of the worst teams in the NFL in 2022. However, they might not be the three worst, as teams that finish with the same win-loss record alternate order between rounds. For example, if we were using the 2022 draft order, the first two supplemental comp picks would have still gone to the Jaguars (3-14) and Lions (3-13). However, three teams–the Texans, Jets, and Giants, in that draft order–all finished at 4-13. Although the Texans were deemed to be worse than the other two, by the time the order gets to the hypothetical 8th round, it would be the Jets, not the Texans, who would go first among the three in the 8th round, and thus it would be the Jets who would get the Mr. Irrelevant pick.

To close out, there were four teams who made some questionable low level CFA signings that canceled out some comp picks that they could have otherwise gone after.

  • I already mentioned the Saints above, who felt that having Andy Dalton as their backup quarterback for 2023 was worth possibly jeopardizing a 3rd or 4th round comp pick. Then again, perhaps no team in the NFL cares less about comp picks than the Saints, so this might not be that surprising.
  • The Falcons started off quick in getting on the 2023 comp picks board, when Foyesade Oluokun went to the Jaguars for a 4th round valued comp pick, and Russell Gage went to division rival Tampa Bay for a 5th round valued comp pick. But like the Saints, they decided that insurance at quarterback with Marcus Mariota was worth canceling out the 5th round comp pick. Then, they elected to sign Lorenzo Carter to a 7th round valued $3.5M APY contract, dropping them out of a net loss of CFAs altogether, and forcing Carter to cancel out Oluokun’s 4th round departure.
  • The Texans saw Justin Reid depart for Kansas City for $10.5M APY, which should be good enough for a 4th round comp pick value. But they instead decided that signing Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to 7th round valued contracts in the $3.25M-$3.75M APY range was better for their team.
  • Similarly, the Bears had a top CFA leave their team for a 3rd round value, Allen Robinson to the Rams for $15.5M APY. James Daniels also departed for Pittsburgh for a 5th round valued contract of $8.83M APY. But the Bears canceled out those picks by signing a quartet of players to 6th to 7th round valued contracts, all in the $3M-$4M APY range. Time will tell if enough of Lucas Patrick, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Byron Pringle, or Nicholas Morrow make enough of a difference to offset that loss in draft capital.