2025 Compensatory Picks Potential

The 2024 league year in the NFL officially starts on Wednesday, March 13. The two day negotiating period of free agency commences on Monday, March 11, 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 2025 NFL Draft. Now that we know which players will be effectively taken out of free agency via tags, thus it’s time to take a look at what comp pick potential teams might be looking at.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills have a high quantity of pending UFAs at 21, and while none stand out, there are several that could get CFA eligible contracts elsewhere. This group includes AJ Epenesa, Leonard Floyd, Gabe Davis, Tyrel Dodson, Tim Settle, and Micah Hyde. Combine this with a roster that’s all in on the current players that might not have much room to sign too many new players, and that could be a recipe for multiple lower round comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Miami Dolphins

Miami’s pending UFA count is very high at 26, and leading that list by far is Christian Wilkins, who surprisingly did not receive a franchise tag by the Dolphins. Protecting a high comp pick for his departure should be the Dolphins’ priority, and with several UFAs that could go to other teams (Connor Williams, Robert Hunt, Andrew Van Ginkel, Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, DeShon Elliott), the Dolphins could make some low level CFA signings of their own if they leave for CFA worthy contracts, while protecting their high pick from Wilkins departing. Potential: Moderate

New England Patriots

Placing the transition tag on Kyle Dugger took him out of CFA eligibility unless the Patriots were to rescind the tag before he signs it. That leaves Mike Onwenu as the new leading candidate, with other players like Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Kendrick Bourne, Josh Uche or Myles Bryant looking for new contracts. But with a new head coach for the first time in a long time, and plenty of money to spend, will we see a regime that’s different from the very comp pick friendly one of the past? Potential: Low

New York Jets

The biggest UFA question for the Jets will be how they handle Bryce Huff’s expiring contract after coming offer a ten sack season. If he’s retained, the list of pending UFAs gets thin, but there are a few players like Jordan Whitehead, Connor McGovern, or Mekhi Becton who could get CFA worthy deals that could protect a possible comp pick should Huff leave if they keep their own CFA signings to a minimum. Potential: Low

Baltimore Ravens

Another season, another slate of high quality and quantity of potential CFAs for the Ravens. And this is even after they placed the franchise tag on Justin Madubuike. Patrick Queen, Geno Stone, Jadeveon Clowney (albeit capped at 5th rounder due to accruing 10 seasons), Gus Edwards, Devin Duvernay, John Simpson, Rock Ya-Sin, and even older players like Ronald Darby, Kyle Van Noy, and Odell Beckham Jr. could be at play. With a deep roster as is even without these players, the Ravens as usual are sitting pretty to do what they do here. Potential: Very High

Cincinnati Bengals

With Tee Higgins tagged, the Bengals could prioritize Jonah Williams as a CFA to account for should he leave, as tackles are always in high demand. DJ Reader’s quad injury could hamper his next free agency journey after a strong season beforehand. Tyler Boyd, Chidobe Awuzie, and Drew Sample could also pad CFA departures for Williams should the Bengals want to sign CFAs of their own. Potential: Moderate

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have a high quantity of CFA eligible pending UFAs at 23, but none of them figure to stand out as notable. Should Cleveland decide to withhold from free agency, perhaps they could see a low round comp pick or two come their way, but this might be a good season for them to not care too much about it. Potential: Low

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers also do not have any notable pending UFAs, and their total number is on the low end at just 13. Unless they feel this is a season to entirely sit out of free agency, there’s not likely much of a reason to prioritize comp picks this time around. Potential: Very Low

Houston Texans

The Texans have been renowned in recent years for signing many low level veterans to one year contracts, and that bears out this offseason with a very high 28 pending UFAs hitting the market. Having that many of them raises the odds of generating some CFA worthy contracts, but none of them are likely to be in the high rounds, with Jonathan Greenard possibly being the highest after the team extended Dalton Schultz. With CJ Stroud on a rookie contract and plenty of money to spend, their best avenue to take the next step may be to hit free agency heavy. Potential: Low

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have a low quantity of pending UFAs at 14, but there could be some quality within there–Kenny Moore and Julian Blackmon are a pair of defensive backs that could see CFA worthy deals even in a glut of DB talent. Zack Moss also hits the market alongside an abundance of RBs. And don’t count out Gardner Minshew for getting a decent CFA contract even as a backup due to a strong season coming in relief for Anthony Richardson. There’s not a lot to work with, but some if the Colts wish to eschew free agency. Potential: Low

Jacksonville Jaguars

Josh Allen received an expected franchise tag, which leaves the door open for Calvin Ridley to hit unrestricted free agency. While there’s a few other pending UFAs that could get CFA worthy deals, such as Ezra Cleveland or Dawuane Smoot, with only 13 pending UFAs total, the Jaguars would have to go lean on CFA signings of their own if they want to protect a potential high comp pick should Ridley leave. Potential: Low

Tennessee Titans

The Titans are in a similar place to the Texans in that they have a high quantity of pending UFAs (23), but not much quality within them. They also have a quarterback on his second season poised to be the starter in Will Levis that the team may wish to build around in free agency righter than working on comp picks for two drafts down the road. Potential: Low

Denver Broncos

Lloyd Cushenberry looks to be the leading center in unrestricted free agency if the Broncos let him get there. Josey Jewell has been a useful and underrated linebacker that could see attention elsewhere if he’s not retained. Beyond that, there’s not a lot for Denver to work with here, but after a heavy foray into free agency last offseason, indications may be that they won’t repeat that in 2024, which could generate comp picks if they don’t retain their key UFAs. Potential: Moderate

Kansas City Chiefs

Much has been said about Chris Jones’s contribution to the Chiefs’ defense, but it was sensible for Kansas City to instead use the franchise tag on the younger L’Jarius Sneed. That could leave a path for Jones to sign a large contract elsewhere, and establish a high comp pick going the Chiefs’ way. Beyond Jones, Willie Gay, Drue Tranquill, Derrick Nnadi, Donovan Smith, Tershawn Warton, and even punter Tommy Townsend could garner CFA worthy contracts. Unless the Chiefs want to go shopping in the CFA market themselves–which they are not averse to doing–they have plenty of paths for comp pick generation. Potential: High

Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs will not be franchise tagged a second time, and that will set him up to be the Raiders’ leading CFA candidate. But with only 17 total pending UFAs, and the only notable ones being a handful of marginal offensive linemen like Andre James, Jermaine Eleumenor, and Greg Van Roten, there’s likely not much for the Raiders to work for in comp picks as they try to build a stronger roster. Potential: Very Low

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are poised for much change with a new head coach and general manager that may have different visions from the previous regime. That might cause a fair number of CFA worthy UFAs to depart: Austin Ekeler, Kenneth Murray, Alohi Gilman, Michael Davis among them. The question will be whether any of their departures are offset by arrivals of CFAs to turn over the roster. Potential: Low

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys tend to prioritize retaining their own over venturing too far in unrestricted free agency. This approach tends to fetch them comp picks for players they were unable to come to agreement on extensions with. This season, this includes Tony Pollard (who was not given another franchise tag), stalwart Tyron Smith (who will also be capped at a 5th round for being a 10+ accrued season veteran), and Tyler Biadasz (another leading UFA at center). Add on a few other peripheral players like Jourdan Lewis or Jayron Kearse, and the usual path to comp picks for Dallas is there despite having only 16 total pending UFAs. Potential: Moderate

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley will not receive another franchise tag, and he should headline a deep running back market should he not stay in New York. Also not getting tagged is Xavier McKinney, who could also headline a deep safety market. Padding them will be a total of 24 pending UFAs that could give the Giants some leeway to shop for CFAs if enough of their own sign CFA eligible contracts to pad for comp picks should Barkley and McKinney leave. Potential: Moderate

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles overflowed the comp pick chart last season with nine CFAs that departed, and signed none. This time, while they have 20 pending UFAs, they are either older (Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham) or lower profile (D’Andre Swift, Nicholas Morrow). The Eagles have mostly committed to their roster for the long term with a series of contract structures designed to be all in, and even if the comp picks they receive aren’t high, they could still be numerous. Potential: Moderate

Washington Commanders

With a new head coach and new general manager, change could be on the way in DC, and with plenty of money to burn, that could also indicate an array of CFA signings at hand. With Kamren Curl perhaps the most prominent pending UFA for the Commanders in an abundant safety market, and not much else beyong him, this could be a good season for the Commanders to overload on veterans, particularly if they take a rookie quarterback 2nd overall. Potential: Very Low

Chicago Bears

The Bears appear poised to reset the rookie quarterback clock thanks to being gifted the 1st overall pick from the Panthers, which can give them room to be aggressive in free agency to continue to improve the roster. And with only 14 pending UFAs, the best of which might be Darnell Mooney or Equanimeous St. Brown, it’s unlikely that they’ll need to run over comp picks to do so. Potential: Very Low

Detroit Lions

Jonah Jackson and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Jr. are a couple of Lions that could get decent CFA contracts elsewhere. Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara, and Donovan Peoples-Jones could also attract CFA contracts even if they’re on the 7th round end. But their list of CFA eligible contract candidates got pared down due to Teddy Bridgewater retiring, Halapoulivaati Vaitai becoming ineligible due to his contract being shortened, and Emmanuel Moseley signing an extension. If the Lions want comp picks, they may have to hold back in signing CFAs of their own. Potential: Low

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have only 12 pending UFAs, but some are notable enough to consider–Jon Runyan Jr., Darnell Savage, AJ Dillon, Keisean Nixon. Because the Packers have a long history of prioritizing comp picks, they can never be ruled out in getting some, even if the quantity of candidates they have to work with is low. Potential: Moderate

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins will lead the way with a 3rd round CFA contract if he leaves Minnesota. Right behind him will be Danielle Hunter coming off another double digit sack season. Dalton Risner, KJ Osborn, DJ Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport are other Vikings from 2023 that could see good contracts elsewhere if not retained. Suffice to say, the Vikings will be poised very well to make their 2025 draft slate abundant if they so choose. Potential: Very High

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are yet another team that has a decent number of pending UFAs, but none particularly notable. Barring a surprise signing, there’s not much to talk about with them beyond the typical observation that they could get low round comp picks if they hold off on free agency. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the advisable thing to do if they have outlets to improve the team there. Potential: Low

Carolina Panthers

Brian Bruns was taken off this list after he was franchise tagged. This leaves Jeremy Chinn and Frankie Luvu as their most prominent CFA candidates. DJ Chark also can’t be discounted for another decent contract. But comp pick consideration could be offset by the need to improve a roster that was the worst in the NFL in 2023, plus with fewer draft picks due to trading up for Bryce Young. Potential: Low

New Orleans Saints

The Saints remain devoted to keeping core players on their roster, no matter how much they amortize the cap dollars associated with their contracts to do so. This regularly leaves them with few CFA worthy players hitting free agency. But on the other hand, filling up on incumbent players also tends to make them avoid free agency. In the past couple of seasons this has generated some comp picks for them, but typically they do not care much about them, and this could be one of those seasons where they revert to their mean. Potential: Low

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Antoine Winfield Jr. tagged and Mike Evans extended, all eyes will be on Baker Mayfield to see if he signs an extension with the team. If he doesn’t, then he’ll easily generate a 3rd round comp pick for the Bucs even on a lower end starting quarterback contract. But even if he does, there will be other players such as Lavonte David, Devin White, Aaron Stinnie Ryan Neal, and Greg Gaines that could also net CFA contracts if not retained. The precise quality of comp picks will hinge on what Mayfield decides to do, but the quantity feels like it will be there for Tampa. Potential: High

Arizona Cardinals

Marquise Brown leads a list of 17 pending UFAs as he comes off a rookie contract that saw him traded from Baltimore. Josh Woods and Antonio Hamilton are two other players that played more than 50% of the snaps to watch out for. But with not much else here, and an abundance of draft picks to use this season, it might be at the end of April when they decide to take significant steps to improve the roster. Potential: Low

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have been very adept at leveraging comp picks to improve their roster with skilled drafting–in 2023, they got an extremely positive example of that with Puka Nacua. This season, they don’t have as many high profile pending UFAs as they did before, but even if they’re low round comp picks, players like Coleman Shelton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jordan Fuller, or Kevin Dotson could keep their modus operandi going. Potential: Moderate

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers traded a 3rd round 2024 comp pick to acquire Chase Young on the last season of his contract, and it very much felt like a move in which they hoped to recoup some of that draft capital with a future comp pick in 2025 if they chose not to extend him. Oren Burks and Ray-Ray McCloud were underrated contributors for the team recently. And San Darnold can’t be counted out for a CFA eligible contract even as a backup. This slate of pending UFAs doesn’t look as lucrative for San Francisco as last season, where they had nine leave, but there’s still plenty to work with. Potential: Moderate

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks also made an aggressive trade for Leonard Williams, giving up 2nd and 5th round picks to the Giants in order to get him on the final season of his contract. Recouping some of that value with a comp pick could be on their mind. Noah Fant, Evan Brown, Damien Lewis, and maybe Drew Lock even on a backup QB contract could also be in play. The big question with Seattle though is that with Pete Carroll no longer there, will John Schneider shape a different vision for the roster than he has before that involves free agency considerably–especially after also cutting a spate of players in Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, and Will Dissly. Potential: Moderate