2024 Compensatory Picks Potential

The 2023 league year in the NFL officially starts on Wednesday, March 15. The two day negotiating period of free agency commences on Monday, March 13, and it is then when we would typically get first knowledge of the largest contracts to be signed. With those contracts signed come the assignment of some players as compensatory free agents (CFAs), and thus the generation of compensatory picks for the 2023 NFL Draft. Now that we know which players will be effectively taken out of free agency via the franchise tag, thus it’s time to take a look at what comp pick potential teams might be looking at.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills chose not to use the franchise tag on either Jordan Poyer or Tremaine Edmunds, meaning that they should highlight a strong potential CFA group for the Bills. Devin Singletary is one of many running backs that could see action on the free agent market. 20 total pending UFAs should allow the Bills to make some lower level CFA signings if they so desire while protecting higher comp picks should any of Poyer, Edmumds, or Singletary depart. Potential: Moderate

Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki did not receive another franchise tag, and thus will head a very deep pending UFA class of 27 players. This includes quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running backs Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Myles Gaskin, wide receiver Trent Sherfield, edge rushers Andrew Van Ginkel and Melvin Ingram, linebacker Elandon Roberts, defensive backs Eric Rowe and Nik Needham, and special teamers Justin Bethel and Clayton Fejedelem. The Dolphins may not become eligible for a large quality of comp picks beyond Gesicki, but the quantity could be great, and that could allow Miami to shop for CFAs of their own while protecting a comp pick for Gesicki’s departure in particular. Potential: High

New England Patriots

The Patriots decided not to place the franchise tag on Jonathan Jones, so if he is not extended before he hits the market he could be one comp pick target for New England. Jakobi Meyers could also be one of the highlights of a shallow wide receiver free agency class that could treat him with a good contract. The same holds for Isaiah Wynn at right tackle. Any comp picks the Patriots receive may be limited, but they usually make an effort to be aware of any that they can get. Potential: Moderate

New York Jets

There are a few scattered names among the Jets pending UFAs that could sign CFA worthy deals–Quincy Williams, Connor McGovern, Lamarcus Joyner, Nate Herbig, Sheldon Rankins, George Fant–but none seem like free agents that would generate top tier comp picks. Perhaps Mike White could be the most notable name to watch as a departure from New York, as quarterbacks even on decent backup quarterback contracts can usually generate eligible comp picks. Potential: Low

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are expected to not be awarded any compensatory picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, which would break the longest active streak of 12 straight drafts. 2024 doesn’t look very promising either: Marcus Peters and Ben Powers might be the only two players that might generate significant CFA contracts elsewhere. Never, ever count out the Ravens in prioritizing comp picks, but they also have the good sense to not let them hijack roster building. If the Ravens are going to get any compensation from future drafts via their free agents, it may only be if non-exclusive franchise tagged Lamar Jackson departs. Potential: Low

Cincinnati Bengals

Jessie Bates was not given another franchise tag, and he and fellow safety teammate Vonn Bell should be in high demand for teams looking to improve that position. Hayden Hurst and Germaine Pratt are two other Bengals that could see decent contracts on the open market. The Bengals aren’t afraid to let players walk that don’t fit their budget, and that naturally puts them in good comp pick fetching situations. This offseason, there may also be greater feedback here if they are planning for large extensions for Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins. Potential: Moderate

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have an eclectic collection of pending UFAs. Jadeveon Clowney, having being drafted 1st overall many years ago, is always prime to get a decent contract on those grounds. Ethan Pocic is a center that has been getting heightened buzz among teams looking to improve at that position. Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson are a pair of running backs that could get attention despite a deep market. Greedy Williams and Ronnie Harrison are a pair of younger defensive backs to watch for as well. But perhaps the most notable potential CFA running under the radar is Jacoby Brissett, who played in relief of the suspended Deshaun Watson. It’s very unclear whether any of these players departing Cleveland would generate significant comp picks, or whether the Browns even care to pursue them. But one can envision a case. Potential: Moderate

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have a wide number of defensive players hitting free agency, including Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, Cameron Sutton, Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, and Robert Spillane. None of them look to be top free agents, but many look to be at least able to garner CFA worthy contracts. But the bigger question for Pittsburgh is whether they should instead try to leverage Kenny Pickett’s rookie contract to make some key veteran acquisitions in free agency now to help him and the team take the next step forward. Potential: Low

Houston Texans

Once again the Texans enter free agency with a very shallow group of pending UFAs Perhaps someone like a Jonathan Owens or an Ogbonnia Okoronwko could get a CFA worthy deal elsewhere. But with a shallow overall roster and a considerable amount of cap space, Houston should be poised to sign several CFAs of their own to deepen that roster. Potential: Very Low

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have a small but key number of potential CFAs to watch out for. Yannick Ngakoue is still only 28 years old and could get a look from teams looking for edge rush help. Bobby Okereke has been a reliable linebacker alonside Shaquille Leonard. Parris Campbell could also get interest for teams trying to fish a wide receiver out of a low stocked pond. The question will be whether the Colts desire to protect any of the possible comp picks these players could generate alongside any external signings they want to make. Potential: Moderate

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have been regular big spenders in free agency for many offseasons, and last offseason it feels like they finally nailed it with many successful signings. Could that translate them to hold off a bit this time around? Well, Trevor Lawrence still has one more year of non-extendable rookie contract play to contribute, so it might not hurt to find a way to keep spending. But what could be more constricting for comp pick generation is only 11 pending UFAs after franchise tagging Evan Engram, and Jawaan Taylor and Arden Key might be only two left that could generate significant comp picks. Dawaune Smoot looked to join them but a late season Achilles tear may tragically impede his next contract. If the Jaguars want comp picks, they may have to hold off on CFA signings of their own, and there’s a case that they shouldn’t necessarily do so despite last offseason’s success. Potential: Low

Tennessee Titans

The Titans are 2nd in the league in pending UFAs at 29, but the quality does not quite follow from there: David Long, Nate Davis, and Austin Hooper might be the only ones that will generate high enough comp picks. The Titans have also cut several veterans, and all that turnover may necessitate making several CFA signings in order to replenish the roster alongside all their UFAs they do not retain. Potential: Low

Denver Broncos

Dre’Mont Jones is the leading name to watch out for coming out of Denver, as many consider that he will get a very good contract among UFA interior defensive linemen. Dalton Risner has been a very reliable guard for the Broncos throughout his rookie contract, Alex Singleton was a breakout surprise coming in relief of injuries at linebacker, and even Cameron Fleming could see a CFA worthy contract as teams look to improve a key position at tackle. If the Broncos let any of these players depart they will need to sign replacements, but they could easily leverage the free agency market as a whole to ensure that they at least get a high comp pick should they not retain Jones. Potential: Moderate

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs did not franchise tag Orlando Brown, Jr. a second time, and that should headline a likely 3rd round comp pick available for Kansas City if they do not re-sign him. But even beyond him, the Chefs have Juan Thornhill, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Derrick Nnadi, Andrew Wylie, Mecole Hardman, and Justin Watson slated for unrestricted free agency. That is a lot for the Chiefs to work with as they decide if they want to sign CFAs of their own while protecting the possible Brown 3rd. Potential: Very High

Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs was franchise tagged to take the Raiders’ most prominent UFA out of the compensatory formula, but there are a few other names that could get some attention. Mack Hollins was a surprise emergence at wide receiver on a one year contract. Rock Ya-Sin completed his rookie contract after Las Vegas traded Ngakoue for him. Foster Moreau may be ready to step out of Darren Waller’s shadow. 26 total pending UFAs don’t hurt either, but what could hurt the Raiders’ potential is a large amount of cap space that could be spent on external CFAs to fill those roster spots. Potential: Low

Los Angeles Chargers

The two potential CFAs for the Chargers to watch should they leave are Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley, both high snap contributors on their defense last season. There is not much else on a somewhat short list of 15 pending UFAs, and the Chargers will have to ask themselves whether they think they can squeeze out one more round of spending before they try to extend Justin Herbert. Potential: Low

Dallas Cowboys

Dalton Schultz was not given another franchise tag, and thus he’ll be another top tight end to hit the market. Leighton Vander Esch should also see a good contract as one of the better linebackers available. Safety Donovan Wilson, guard Connor McGovern, wide receiver Noah Brown, and cornerback Anthony Brown were also contributors in Dallas that could find CFA worthy deals. Since the Cowboys focus more on rewarding their own instead of dipping into external free agents, that modus operandi is one that naturally leads to comp picks coming their way, and they have the ability to repeat that this time around. Potential: High

New York Giants

The Giants have a decent number of pending UFAs at 19, but none of them really stand out as players able to get CFA worthy deals beyond the 7th round. It might be best for the Giants to continue to improve a roster that surprised last season with some veteran talent in order to turn the surprise into something sustainable. Potential: Very Low

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have many contributors from their NFC winning roster set to hit the market. Javon Hargrave, James Bradberry, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Jr., Isaac Seumalo, T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, Marcus Epps, and Miles Sanders make up a long list of players who should be capable of getting CFA contract valued higher than the 7th round. It would not surprise at all if the Eagles are able to make a CFA signing or two of their own without jeopardizing the quanitity of comp picks they get due to the maximum limit of four per draft. Potential: Very High

Washington Commanders

Franchise tagging Daron Payne took the Commanders’ leading CFA candidate by far off the board, and what’s left is an unnotable list of pending UFAs that are both low in quality and quantity. This would be a much better offseason for the Commanders to utilize that scarcity into acquiring some CFA veterans without fear of losing good comp picks. Potential: Very Low

Chicago Bears

The Bears have a decent amount of players slated for unrestricted free agency, but it’s tough to find any that will sign notable CFA worthy contracts. With a league leading amount of cap space and a roster that is still desiccated in talent in many ways, the Bears will likely need to spend well in free agency to flourish their roster. Potential: Very Low

Detroit Lions

The Lions have a few UFAs under the age of 30 to watch for–Alex Anzalone, DeShon Elliott, Jamaal Williams, Mike Hughes, DJ Chark–but none would appear to move the needle much in the compensatory formula. The Lions were another team that beat expectations in 2022, and getting a little more veteran talent to make the push to the next step in 2023 could be in order as part of the larger plan. Potential: Low

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have only 14 pending UFAs, but some are notable enough to consider. Allen Lazard leads that list as the latest wide receiver from Green Bay to hit the market, and beside him are a few older players like Adrian Amos, Robert Tonyan, and Jarran Reed who could end up on a CFA cancellation chart. There’s not a lot for the Packers to work with here but they have a reputation for prioritizing comp picks so they shouldn’t be counted out even if what’s awarded is miminal. Potential: Moderate

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have a very solid contingent of pending UFAs. Garrett Bradbury, Alexander Mattison, and Irv Smith, Jr. are all younger players looking for their first bigger veteran contract. Dalvin Tomlinson continues to play well as he looks for his third contract. Chandon Sullivan was a surprise heavy contributor that might look to take the next step elsewhere, and Patrick Peterson cannot be counted out to continue an outstanding career. Potential: High

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have a high number of pending UFAs at 23, and there are a couple of names to watch for here at positions in limited supply: Kaleb McGary at right tackle, and Olamide Zaccheaus at wide receiver. But offsetting this is a team that could still stand to improve its roster as a whole significantly, and a lot of cap space to do it via veterans. If the Falcons see a higher number of free agents depart for CFA qualifying deals, it might make sense to try to save room for a comp pick should McGary or Zaccheaus leave, but the effort might also not be worth it compared to potential CFA gains. Potential: Low

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers might be able to squeeze a comp pick or two out of the likes of Matt Ioannidis or Bradley Bozeman, and Sam Darnold cannot be counted out to get a CFA worthy deal even as a backup due to his pedigree of being picked 3rd overall. But that’s about it for Carolina, and this could be yet another team that’s better suited to prefer signing veteran CFAs over comp picks. Potential: Low

New Orleans Saints

It’s an annual tradition of the Saints stretching the salary cap to its maximum flexibility, and they proved it again already this offseason by finding a way to sign Derek Carr as their new quarterback. This should put them in a position to see some notable pending UFAs walk for CFA deals, such as Marcus Davenport, PJ Williams, or David Onyemata. (Note that Michael Thomas is not eligible to become a CFA due to having his contract shortened via renegotiation.) The Saints may not care about comp picks but they might not need to care that much to get some. Potential: Moderate

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers may be poised to take a step back from their Super Bowl run with Tom Brady after accruing very high cap charges against their team this season. This may make it impractical to retain some of their CFA worthy players like Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, or Mike Edwards. Also included here is stalwart Lavonte David, though as such a stalwart that has accrued more than 10 seasons, the maximum round a comp pick can be fetched for his departure is at the 5th round. Potential: High

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals lead the league in pending UFAs with 31, and there are a few here that should be able to get good CFA contracts, such as Zach Allen or Byron Murphy. The quality might not be high beyond them, but the quantity plus the way the Cardinals generally operate tends to send comp picks their way, even if most would be 7th rounders. Potential: High

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are a team that likes to focus on getting comp picks, yet this time around there’s not a whole lot of notable names to get them with. Perhaps players like Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott, or A’Shawn Robinson could get CFA worthy deals. Baker Mayfield also cannot be counted out even as a backup quarterback due to being taken 1st overall. The question will be what path the Rams deem to be the best from bouncing back from a very disappointing Super Bowl defense campaign. Potential: Moderate

San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo will head this list, as a contract that pays him even as a borderline starter will push the comp pick value into the 3rd round. Mike McGlinchey is right behind as he was not franchise tagged and should be a desirable target for teams looking to improve at right tackle. Charles Omenihu and Samson Ebukam are a pair of edge rushers in a position that’s always desired for depth. The same holds for Emmanuel Moseley at corner. Just based on Garoppolo’s availability alone, that should keep the 49ers very mindful of the regular comp picks they can add alongside their 2020 Resolution JC-2A comp picks that they have been dominant in being awarded more than any other team by far. Potential: Very High

Seattle Seahawks

With Geno Smith extended, that takes the Seahawks top comp pick candidate off the board. There could be some useful CFA worthy players to depart Seattle, like Rashaad Penny, Poona Ford, or Cody Barton. The question is whether the Seahawks will think that’s worth it in lieu of getting a little more veteran help in the brave new world that they are trying to pave out. Potential: Low