Nick Korte

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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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Evaluation of the 2018 Compensatory Picks Projection

As expected, the 2018 compensatory draft picks were released today. As always, upon seeing the official release it’s proper to judge how my prediction did against it. This year, I was able to accomplish what once seemed implausible: I correctly identified to which team all 32 comp picks would be awarded to. But I still wasn’t perfect, as there were some round cutoffs that I still need work on calibrating better. (more…)

Projecting The 2018 Compensatory Picks

This article refers specifically to OTC’s projection for the 2018 NFL Draft’s compensatory picks. For details on the basics and methodology of projecting compensatory picks in general, please reference this article.

To understand how this projection is generated for each team, please reference the compensatory picks cancellation charts here.

The Projection

TeamRdCompensated Free AgentAPYSnapsRank
ARI3Calais Campbell$15,000,00077.4%18
HOU3A.J. Bouye$13,500,00097.4%28
CIN3Kevin Zeitler$12,000,000100.0%31
DEN3Russell Okung$13,250,00087.1%37
GB3T.J. Lang$9,500,00077.4%88
BAL3Ricky Wagner$9,500,00075.9%89
ARI4Tony Jefferson$8,500,00099.1%103
NE4Jabaal Sheard$8,500,00083.4%119
NYG4Johnathan Hankins$9,000,00063.6%127
DAL4Ronald Leary$8,925,00063.0%133
DAL4Barry Church$6,500,00095.0%188
CIN5Andrew Whitworth$11,250,00088.8%32
GB5Micah Hyde$6,000,00096.1%222
DAL5Brandon Carr$6,000,00093.5%228
GB5J.C. Tretter$5,583,333100.0%245
DAL5Morris Claiborne$5,000,00082.2%286
GB5Jared Cook$5,000,00078.6%288
OAK6Latavius Murray$4,900,00037.7%330
KC6Nick Foles$5,500,00018.7%333
HOU6John Simon$4,666,66743.5%336
OAK6Malcolm Smith$5,250,0000.1%344
MIN6Cordarrelle Patterson$4,000,00042.5%380
HOU6Quintin Demps$4,406,25016.7%399
OAK6D.J. Hayden$3,500,00044.8%431
MIN6Adrian Peterson$3,500,00029.0%451
OAK6Nate Allen$3,400,00034.3%456
LAC7Manti Te’o$2,450,00047.4%587
CIN7Margus Hunt$2,050,00053.7%620
CIN7Karlos Dansby$1,900,00086.9%625
ARI7Alex Okafor$1,935,00045.8%651
TB7Bradley McDougald$1,800,00061.7%660
ATL7Tom Compton$1,850,00034.5%673
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
BAL7Vladimir Ducasse$1,166,66775.7%787
NYG7Coty Sensabaugh$1,300,00024.5%813
ATL7Eric Weems$1,300,0001.5%815
NE7LeGarrette Blount$1,200,00031.2%817
HOU7Don Jones$1,100,0000.1%894

Note that although there are 37 eligible compensatory picks listed in this projection, each year only exactly 32 picks are awarded. Therefore, the picks that rank 33rd and lower are not awarded, although the official release will typically acknowledge their presence, as this list does with strikethrough text.

Compensatory picks became tradeable beginning with the 2017 NFL Draft. However, unlike last year when teams had four deals in place that potentially involved comp picks even before they were officially announced, this year I have not identified any trades involving comp picks as of the publication of this article. If last year is any indication, I expect the official release to come out on February 23, the Friday before the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. This strikes me as a very sensible time to announce the compensatory picks, as it allows executives at the Combine to discuss possible trades with full knowledge of their draft capital.

Cutoff Projections

It was suggested via the resolution allowing comp picks to be traded on December 2, 2015 that the cutoffs between each rounds and whether or not a player had an APY high enough to qualify was determined by a “rank[ing] against all players in the League who are on rosters at the end of the season”. I have conjectured from this evidence that the cutoffs are based on a percentile system. After refining the OTC’s program following the official release of the 2017 compensatory picks, it’s my guess that the percentiles operate on even percentages divisible by five, as illustrated in the table below.

At the end of the 2017 regular season, OTC’s database identified a total of 1933 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists, and had also played in at least 10 games during the 2017 regular season. As explained in the general methodology in the previous link, the cutoffs for each round and for qualifying as a compensatory free agent (CFA) have been established by this projection on certain percentile ranks of all players on the active roster and reserve lists at the end of the regular season, sorted by APY adjusted for snap counts in descending order and also represented by the player at the cutoff point. For 2017, these cutoffs are as follows:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)97Kam Chancellor
4th/5th90th (top 10%)193Dwayne Allen
5th/6th85th (top 15%)290Jeremy Maclin
6th/7th75th (top 25%)483Chris Thompson
7th/Qualify50th (top 50%)967Keith Tandy

Players On The Cutoff Bubbles

While it is my hope that my projection of where the cutoffs lie is correct, there is enough of a margin of error that the players that are very close to them may fall on the opposite side of where I have them projected. In most cases, if I’m wrong it means that the team in question will still get a comp pick for that player, but that it may be in a round higher or lower. But in a few cases (those are bolded), it could change cancellations, possibly taking away or greatly devaluing a projected comp pick—or possibly adding or greatly upgrading a comp pick.


  • TJ Lang (Green Bay): #88
  • Ricky Wagner (Baltimore): #89
  • Projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #97
  • Tony Jefferson (Arizona): #103
  • Jabaal Sheard (New England): #119
  • Johnathan Hankins (New York Giants): #127
  • Ron Leary (Dallas): #133


  • Barry Church (Dallas): #188
  • Projected 4th/5th cutoff: #193


  • Menelik Watson (Oakland): #276
  • Jared Cook (Green Bay): #288
  • Projected 5th/6th cutoff: #290
  • DJ Swearinger (Arizona): #298


  • Projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #483
  • Akeem Spence (Tampa Bay): #484
  • Kevin Minter (Arizona): #506
  • JJ Wilcox (Dallas): #513


  • None

Qualifying/Valuation Questions

This year, there are multiple special cases and questions to address.

  • One very notable case that can be observed in looking at the APY order is that despite signing an $11.25 million APY deal and being named both to the Pro Bowl and as an All-Pro, Andrew Whitworth is projected to award the Bengals with only a 5th round comp pick instead of a 3rd. This is due to what I call the Alan Faneca rule, a rule that declares that any player with ten or more accrued seasons (Whitworth had 11 when he signed with the Rams) may yield only a 5th round pick as a maximum. For Bengals fans disappointed to see this, a silver lining is that their archrival Steelers were the ones first blindsided by this rule, thinking they were going to get a 3rd for losing Faneca in 2009.
  • There were two potential CFAs that were traded during the first year of their contracts. After leaving Dallas for Tampa Bay, JJ Wilcox was traded to Pittsburgh. After leaving Minnesota for New Orleans, Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona. It is well established that if a team trades for a CFA, that team is also charged with gaining that CFA in the comp pick formula. (Hence why the Patriots did not want to include Brian Hoyer in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.) What is not known is whether the team that trades away the CFA is relieved from that charge of a CFA gained. This aspect is not relevant for Peterson and the Saints, as New Orleans (as usual) is not projected to receive any compensatory picks anyway. But it is relevant for Wilcox and the Bucs. I am guessing that because that this relief would allow a team to double dip on draft picks, Wilcox will still count as a CFA gained against Tampa Bay. But I could be wrong, and if I am, the Bucs will gain an additional comp pick.
  • Peterson’s case also has an additional complicating factor other than just being traded. He became a UFA in 2017 after renegotiating his contract in 2015 to include a possible shortening of the original deal via a team option on his 2017 year. The Vikings declined that option, and Peterson was no longer under contract. It is known that contracts that are shortened through renegotiation via a player option disqualify that player from becoming a CFA. But it is not known whether the same rule applies to team options. A clue toward this answer may have come when, for the first time ever when the NFL issued its annual official release of free agents, it marked a small number of players as “non-compensable unrestricted free agent[s]”. Peterson was not one of these players. For this reason, I’m guessing that Peterson will qualify. But again, I could be wrong, and if I am, that will impact comp picks for both Minnesota and Arizona.
  • Finally, for the first time ever (as far as I can tell), a CFA that was cut before Week 10 was claimed off waivers. The window for this possibility is very narrow, as it can only happen in the two weeks between the trade deadline of Week 8 and the comp pick cutoff mark of Week 10. But that’s what happened when Green Bay cut Martellus Bennett after Week 9, and was then claimed by New England—the very team that lost Bennett in free agency. Suffice to say, these circumstances are highly unusual. Does the Week 10 rule still apply to players claimed on waivers? If not, are the Packers still charged with a CFA gained even if they’re relieved from a contract that’s still active? Are the Patriots charged with a CFA gained as well—and if so, does that mean Bennett cancels himself out in the Patriots’ ledger? Because the Patriots are very knowledgeable and mindful about comp picks, it’s reasonable to guess that New England may have asked for a clarification on Bennett’s status before issuing a waiver claim for him. To keep it simple I’m guessing that Bennett will not qualify. But I have low confidence in that guess, and if I’m wrong, it could possibly complicate comp picks for both Green Bay and New England.

Possible Altering Scenarios

  • Arizona
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify, Arizona will get a 6th for Marcus Cooper.
    • If Kevin Minter is valued as a 6th, Arizona will get a 6th for him instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
    • If DJ Swearinger is valued as a 5th, Arizona will get a 5th for him instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify and DJ Swearinger is valued as a 5th, Arizona will get a 5th for Swearinger and a 6th or 7th for Kevin Minter instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
  • Denver
    • If Ron Leary is valued as a 3rd, Denver will get a 7th for Dekoda Watson instead of a 3rd for Russell Okung.
  • Green Bay
    • If Martellus Bennett qualifies, Green Bay will get a 6th for Eddie Lacy instead of a 5th for Micah Hyde.
  • Minnesota
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify, Minnesota will not get a 6th for him.
  • New England
    • If Martellus Bennett qualifies but is not charged as a CFA gained against them, New England will get a 5th for him.
  • Oakland
    • If Menelik Watson is valued as a 5th and Jared Cook is valued as a 6th, Oakland will get a 5th for Watson instead of a 6th for Latavius Murray.
  • Tampa Bay
    • If JJ Wilcox is not charged as a CFA gained against them, Tampa Bay will get a 6th or 7th for Akeem Spence.
    • If JJ Wilcox is charged as a CFA gained against them, he is valued as a 7th, and Akeem Spence is valued as a 6th, Tampa Bay will get a 6th for Spence instead of a 7th for Bradley McDougald.

Introducing Tender Projections For The Next League Year

With the 2017 regular season winding down interest will be rising as to how for 2018 teams can keep some players off the free agency market, and at what cost. The newly added Franchise, Transition and RFA Tenders page should help in this regard. Using contract data collected over the past five seasons, OTC should now be able to give you a reasonable estimate of what type of money (both cash and cap spending) it will take to use a franchise or transition tag on one player, and at what position. It can also estimate what type of pay Restricted Free Agents (players with expiring contracts but only exactly three accrued seasons) should expect depending on what level of compensation their team places their tender at.

These numbers are now also automatically integrated into OTC’s calculator to assist you in coordinating the placement of these tenders with other roster moves that you may anticipate a team making as it seeks to balance its cap situation and improve itself further. Please note that the calculator is not yet programmed to deal with players tagged in consecutive seasons, so for a few players (Kirk Cousins is the most obvious), the calculator will underestimate the actual cost of the placement of a tag. In these cases, simply use the “Extend” function to give that player a one year deal at the appropriate amount. (For players tagged a second time, give his previous salary a 20% increase, and for a third time, a 44% increase–in Cousins’s case, that should be $34.478 million.)

Also note that projected numbers are not yet official and are based on OTC’s estimate of a $178 million salary cap for 2018. These numbers will change accordingly if/when the official number changes.

2018 Compensatory Picks Projection Update (9/19/2017)

Now that all 32 teams have played at least one game, giving all players a chance to log snap counts in 2017, it’s a good opportunity to take an update on where OTC’s projection of the 2018 compensatory picks stand.

As is typical, a few compensatory free agents (CFAs) were cut as part of the process to narrowing rosters down to 53 per team. There were two such cuts that were relevant to the projection:

  • The Cardinals cut Jarvis Jones. This caused the Steelers to lose a 5th or 6th round comp pick for Lawrence Timmons (whose own future is complicated at the moment) due to Pittsburgh no longer having a net loss of CFAs. And while this transaction did open up a possible 6th round comp pick to the Cardinals for losing Kevin Minter, Arizona will not get that pick because they are already projected to receive the maximum of 4 comp picks from other CFAs lost.
  • The Vikings released Datone Jones with an injury settlement. This transaction opened up a 6th round comp pick to the Vikings for Cordarrelle Patterson. It also reduced the net loss of CFAs to the Packers, but once again they were already projected to receive the maximum of 4 comp picks from other CFAs lost, so removing Jones from the equation does not hurt Green Bay.

There has also been a rare transaction: a CFA has been traded. After the Bucs signed TJ Ward as a street free agent after being cut by the Broncos, they made room for Ward by trading CFA signee JJ Wilcox to the Steelers.  It is clear from previous comp pick history that Pittsburgh will be charged with a CFA gained by acquiring Wilcox. Precedent for this comes in 2007 when Kansas City failed to get a comp pick due to trading for Michael Bennett, and in 2009 the Seahawks lost a comp pick by trading for Keary Colbert. Combining this with the cut of Jones, the Steelers and their fans should not be expecting any compensatory picks for 2018.

What is not clear is whether the team that traded the CFA away will be relieved of the charge of a CFA gained. In the prior two cases, this could not be determined because the teams that traded away the CFA (New Orleans in 2007 and Denver in 2009) weren’t eligible to get comp picks of their own either way. But this year it will be relevant, as Tampa Bay is a team with a net loss of CFAs that might result in the team getting a 7th round comp pick for Bradley McDougald. Unfortunately, I have no choice to guess, and I will guess that Wilcox will still count against the Bucs, as they have already got compensation for Wilcox via the act of trading him to the Steelers. But if I’m wrong, Tampa Bay will be eligible for an additional 7th round comp pick for Akeem Spence.

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After taking a closer look at early snap count results from the first two weeks of the 2017 regular season, here are a few observations that I have been able to make:

  • The question of whether Denver will be able to get a 3rd round comp pick for Russell Okung, or likely nothing at all, will be very close throughout the regular season, and likely won’t be known for sure until it’s over. It all comes down to whether the formula judges Ronald Leary as a 3rd or 4th round comp pick. Amazingly, the difference could come down to the handful of snaps Leary missed in Week 1 due to suffering a concussion. In doing some simulations, if Leary plays all of the remaining snaps of the season, he should still fall below the 3rd/4th cutoff, and allow the Broncos to get that 3rd round comp pick. But that is just a guess at this point, and there are many factors at play before a firm projection can be made on that front. (In addition, if Leary is valued as a 3rd, the Cowboys would get a 3rd round comp pick for him instead of a 4th.)
  • Barry Church and Martellus Bennett are both hovering closely around the 4th/5th round cutoff point, meaning that the Cowboys and Patriots could see a 5th round comp pick upgraded to a 4th depending on their final snap counts. (The Packers’ comp picks in this regard will also not change regardless of whether Bennett is valued as a 4th or 5th.)
  • Latavius Murray has received minimal snaps to start off the season, only 6.9% thus far, while Dalvin Cook and Jerick McKinnon are getting far more playtime. If the Vikings feel that they can go forward without Murray, they could pick up an additional 6th round comp pick for Rhett Ellison if they cut Murray before Week 10. If that does happen, in addition the Raiders would see their 6th round comp pick for Murray demoted to a 7th rounder for Andre Holmes that might not make the 32 pick limit.
  • Another running back that is getting little playtime is Eddie Lacy. He was a healthy scratch for the Seahawks last week, and it appears that Thomas Rawls and Chris Carson are definitely the primary rushing options in Seattle now. Unlike the Vikings, the Seahawks have no comp pick reason to cut Lacy as they are not projected to get any comp picks even if they did cut him. Furthermore, Seattle has no reason to cut him when the only money they could save is on per game active roster bonuses. They could save that money just the same by continuing to make him inactive. But if Seattle were to cut him before Week 10, the Packers would lose a 6th round comp pick for Julius Peppers.

2017 NFL Roster Textures

Jason gave an excellent breakdown of NFL rosters last night as we prepare for the beginning of the 2017 NFL season. In turn, as a complement I thought I’d give a quick overview of OTC’s texture page, and provide a quick list of 32 observations, one for each team. You are encouraged to make your own observations by directly viewing the texture page.

As always, texture breaks down NFL contracts into five categories, determined by 2017 cap number.  As a brief review, those categories are as follows:

  • Elite: veteran contracts whose cap hits are in the top 32 leaguewide (top 1 per team; $15.075 million or higher for 2017).
  • High: veteran contracts whose cap hits are in the top 33-160 leaguewide, (top 2-5 per team; $7.5-$15 million for 2017).
  • Middle: veteran contracts whose cap hits are in the top 161-320 leaguewide, (top 6-10 per team; $4.06-$7.5 million for 2017).
  • Low: veteran contracts whose cap hits are  below the top 320 leaguewide, ($4 million or less for 2017).
  • Rookie: all contracts signed by players as rookies or by players with three or fewer accrued seasons.

Dead money and cap space are also visualized.  Keep these categories in mind as you read through the observations for each team. (more…)