Recent Posts by

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.

(more…)

2023 Compensatory Picks Potential

The 2022 league year in the NFL officially starts on Wednesday, March 16. The two day negotiating period of free agency commences on Monday, March 14, 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 have only 14 pending UFAs eligible (Mario Addison will not be one of them, due to getting his contract shortened in exchange for taking a pay cut), but there are two players that could see some notable attention. One is typical: Levi Wallace will be looking for his second contract after playing over 92% of the snaps. The other is backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who may get a more lucrative deal if teams try to harness the potential that gave him the pedigree of a 2nd overall pick. With a few other older players that might not be done yet (Jerry Hughes, Emmanuel Sanders), and a roster without notably major holes, the Bills could hold out for a couple comp picks if they choose. Potential: Moderate

Miami Dolphins

With Mike Gesicki franchise tagged, the top free agency attention will likely now turn to Emmanuel Ogbah, who is coming off back to back nine sack seasons. But beyond Ogbah, other than perhaps Jacoby Brissett fetching a decent veteran quarterback contract there aren’t many other potential CFAs of note for Miami. Combine this with a new head coach and lots of cap dollars to spend, and this could be an offseason for the Dolphins to strike with filling the depth chart with veterans instead. Potential: Low

New England Patriots

The Patriots took a one year break from fetching comp picks by going all in on multiple veteran free agent acquisitions after a rare year when they missed the playoffs. Now, with New England back in playoff contention as usual, they could shift back toward comp pick acquisition. If so, the primary goal would be preserving a high comp pick for the departure of JC Jackson, who was not franchise tagged, and if he can get more than about $14.5M APY on his contract, that should end up as a 3rd round comp pick value. New England can also maximize the number of comp picks awarded by letting other notable contributors walk, such as Dont’a Hightower, Ted Karras, Devin McCourty, or Ja’Whaun Bentley. Note that Trent Brown will not be eligible to be a CFA once again for the Patriots, as his contract was shortened upon being traded back to New England. Potential: High

New York Jets

With Marcus Maye not receiving another franchise tag, he’ll try to get a top level contract while coming off an Achilles injury. Other midlevel players who could see some early free agency action include Morgan Moses, Folorunso Fatukasi, Keelan Cole, Jamison Crowder, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. But offsetting the comp pick potential is having a top 5 amount of cap space, which could also be used to help take advantage of Zach Wilson’s contract in his second year. Potential: Moderate

Baltimore Ravens

With 20 pending UFAs, it looks to be business as normal in Baltimore in their regular emphasis to collect compensatory picks. Among the contributors from last season set to hit free agency are Bradley Bozeman, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith, Patrick Ricard, and Sammy Watkins. Even if the Ravens re-sign a few of their UFAs, they have plenty of room to max out their 2023 comp picks by letting others walk as CFAs. Potential: Very High

Cincinnati Bengals

Jessie Bates was given the franchise tag, but there are some other players like CJ Uzomah or Larry Ogunjobi that could see some good deals in free agency if the Bengals don’t retain them. However, the Bengals have to offset this with the fact that they have plenty of cap dollars to spend, and they are defending AFC champions with Joe Burrow still on a relatively cheap rookie contract. The time to strike on getting key veteran additions in an effort to finally get Cincinnati its first Super Bowl victory may be now. Potential: Low

Cleveland Browns

The Browns will have 15 pending UFAs after franchise tagging David Njoku, and that will not include Andy Janovich due to not exercising a team option that used to be standard in contracts for the Broncos (who the Browns traded with to acquire him) as a way to exploit a comp pick loophole that no longer exists. Among those UFAs include some midlevel contributors like Anthony Walker, Malik Jackson, Ronnie Harrison, and Rashad Higgins. And as always, Jadeveon Clowney cannot be counted out as he continues to search for that top tier contract coming off being a 1st overall pick. There’s not a lot of quality for potential CFAs coming out of Cleveland, but the Browns could manufacture some quantity if they hold off on signing CFAs from other teams. Potential: Moderate

Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster will try to give it another chance in free agency for a major long term deal after having to settle for a lower one year contract last offseason. The Steelers have a trio of 90%+ snap contributors from last season hitting free agency in Chukwuma Okorafor, Trai Turner, and Terrell Edmunds, and Joe Haden cannot be discounted even as he’ll turn 33 for the 2022 season. That’s plenty for the Steelers to work with if they want to emphasize comp picks, as they typically do–particularly if they do not sign a CFA quarterback to compete with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins to succeed Ben Roethlisberger. Potential: High

Houston Texans

The Texans lead the league in pending UFAs with 29, but among them are very few players that might sign CFA-worthy contracts–perhaps Justin Reid, Desmond King, or Maliek Collins. With another head coaching change and a weak overall roster, Houston may have to back into the well of veteran acquisitions to fill out the depth chart. Potential: Very Low

Indianapolis Colts

This offseason could be a repeat from the last for the Colts, who have some money to spend but they may also have room to gain some comp picks at the same time. Players that could become notable CFAs include starting offensive linemen Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski, receivers TY Hilton and Zach Pascal, and edge rusher Al-Quadin Muhammad. Having 23 total pending UFAs could also help out to the cause of filling out the comp pick ledger in the lower rounds. Potential: High

Jacksonville Jaguars

With Cam Robinson oddly tagged a second time, and Andrew Norwell ineligible to become a compensatory free agent due to shortening his contract, the Jaguars are left with hardly any other notable CFA-capable free agents other than DJ Chark coming off a season ending injury. With tons of cap space in Trevor Lawrence’s second season, a new head coach, and a franchise that has a history of not caring for comp picks to the tune of having the longest drought of receiving them, I would not expect Jacksonville to show up on the 2023 comp picks list. Potential: Very Low

Tennessee Titans

With Harold Landry extended, the Titans end up having a high quantity of UFAs, but a low quality of those who could become CFAs, with perhaps long time center Ben Jones turning 33 being the leader of that group. However, the Titans also have 24 total pending UFAs, and are also on the lower end of salary cap room for 2022, so if they hold off on free agency on those grounds they could still fetch some lower level comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are unlikely to have any pending UFAs generate high round comp picks, particularly since Teddy Bridgewater will not be eligible for CFA status due to the Broncos agreeing to remove the final season of his contract that he signed with the Panthers. However, there are still plenty of midlevel UFAs that could generate a good quantity of comp picks for a GM in George Paton that likes having a high quantity of draft picks in general–particularly after yielding significant draft capital by acquiring Russell Wilson. Those players include Bryce Callahan, Kyle Fuller, Josey Jewell, Alexander Johnson, and Melvin Gordon among their 17 CFA eligible UFAs. Potential: Moderate

Kansas City Chiefs

As expected, the Chiefs franchise tagged Orlando Brown, Jr., but are plenty of other players that could generate a high quantity and quality of comp picks for Kansas City. They include Tyrann Mathieu, Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes, and Daniel Sorenson from the defensive backfield, Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi on the defensive interior, and Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson at wide receiver. Melvin Ingram also cannot be discounted despite turning 33 for next season. The Chiefs have some holes on the roster they might want to fill with signing an external CFA or two, but even in that case they should be well suited to still be on the 2023 comp picks list. Potential: Very High

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have 24 pending UFAs, but very few of them look to be of high CFA quality. Perhaps their best chance is if Marcus Mariota receives something more than a backup quarterback contract. However, this should be weighed against hiring a new head coach that didn’t particularly care for comp picks during his last tenure as such. Las Vegas is likely to continue its usual status as a franchise that also doesn’t care about comp picks. Potential: Very Low

Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams was extended, leaving 20 other pending UFAs that’s probably led by Uchenna Nwosu, with other older players like Chris Harris, Jr., Jared Cook, and Linval Joseph next up in line. There’s some room for this team to generate comp picks from that, but with one of the highest amount of available cap dollars in the league, they could also look primed to make some big expenditures in free agency. Potential: Low

Dallas Cowboys

Dalton Schultz was given the franchise tag, but there are still plenty of other pending UFAs that could be popular in the early stages of free agency. They include Michael Gallup, Leighton Vander Esch, Keanu Neal, Cedrick Wilson, Jr., Connor Williams, and Randy Gregory. Dallas prefers to keep their own at extensions at a premium, so some of these players might be retained, but since they trade that off by rarely making forays into unrestricted free agency, that naturally leads to compensatory picks–and this offseason shouldn’t be different for the Cowboys. Potential: High

New York Giants

The new front office in New York has been aggressively cutting salary in more than just an effort to get cap compliant. This would indicate that may be interested in making several top moves in free agency to churn the roster to their liking. They have a few players (Will Hernandez, Evan Engram, Jabrill Peppers) that might get good deals elsewhere, but those CFA losses could be offset by CFA signings on the Giants’ end. Potential: Low

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have the league’s fewest number of pending UFAs at nine, but within those nine are some core contributors from 2021 on defense. Steven Nelson, Anthony Harris, Derek Barnett, and Rodney McLeod all played at least 60% of the snaps last season. Pair that with only moderate cap space and three first round picks among 10 total in the draft, and this could be the beginning of a youth movement in Philadelphia that spans into 2023 with comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Washington Commanders

Brandon Scherff was effectively free from being tagged again, and this will be his best chance to get the major contract in his career. Beyond Scherff, there is not many players of note. The Commanders just made a big expenditure in acquiring Carson Wentz, so they could decide to keep their CFA signings low enough just to preserve the one high pick they could get for Scherff’s departure. Potential: Low

Chicago Bears

The Bears have a new front office, and they could elect to go in either direction when it comes to comp picks. On the one hand, they have 27 pending UFAs, and they include players like Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, Jakeem Grant, and James Daniels that could get very good deals elsewhere that could help them play the comp pick formula in their favor. On the other hand, their cap space is on the higher end, and having that many free agents could also indicate that they feel they have plenty of roster holes to fill with veterans. We’ll learn hints as to which path Ryan Poles prefers in the coming days. Potential: Moderate

Detroit Lions

The Lions have only 13 pending UFAs, but there are some high contributors from 2021 among them. Charles Harris started to live up to his 1st round potential, Tracy Walker was one of their top defensive backs, and Alex Anzalone always has potential if he can stay healthy. The Lions don’t show much consistently in going after comp picks, and tend to let them come to them, as they’re projected to from last offseason. We could see the same this offseason, or we could see a more active approach in free agency to add talent for Dan Campbell to work with. Potential: Moderate

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are extremely up against the cap with the looming extension of Aaron Rodgers, and placing the franchise tag on Davante Adams. Combine this with a team that has the history of obsessing over compensatory pick collection more than any other team, and good CFA candidates in De’Vondre Campbell, Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Rasul Douglas, and we should see Green Bay on the 2023 comp pick board as usual. Potential: Very High

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings will have 18 pending UFAs, and that will not include Anthony Barr, who shortened his contract via renegotiation. Beyond him, however, includes plenty of other possible CFA-worthy UFAs like Patrick Peterson, Xavier Woods, and Sheldon Richardson. The Vikings also have some work to do with their salary cap, so even despite a new front office that might want to shape the roster to their desires, Minnesota might still end up with comp picks even if they’re in the lower rounds. Potential: Moderate

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have a high number of pending UFAs at 23, but not much more than wishful promise for some of the their most notable names hitting the market. Russell Gage probably leads that list with 770 receiving yards from last season. Cordarrelle Patterson could always continue to get attention even in his 30s. Perhaps a team could take a flier on Hayden Hurst to try to unlock any perceived first round talent. Foyesade Oluokun could get a good deal after playing almost all the snaps at linebacker. Atlanta perhaps needs to hold off on signing CFAs from other teams if they want comp picks. Potential: Low

Carolina Panthers

Haason Reddick will be a leading edge rusher to watch on the market that also leads Carolina’s possible CFA-worthy free agents. Jermaine Carter and Donte Jackson were two other high snap contributors on defense that will hit the market. Matt Paradis could see a third contract, and DaQuan Jones could still be a reliable player even in his 30s. Weighing against the Panthers’ compensatory pick potential are recent restructures of players like Taylor Moton and Shaq Thompson that could indicate a willingness to be active in free agency. Potential: Moderate

New Orleans Saints

Once again, the Saints are up against it on the salary cap, and once again that could mean that they have no choice but to earn compensatory picks, despite having perhaps the lowest reputation for caring about them. Marcus Williams will not be tagged again and will be a leader in getting a top tier safety deal. Terron Armstead will be attractive at a high priority position at left tackle. Kwon Alexander and PJ Williams could be good midtier options for other teams. And finally, Jameis Winston is always liable to finally break through with a better veteran contract that even at the top of the backup tier could be comp pick worthy. Potential: Very High

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After running back the roster with Tom Brady last offseason, much of the roster is set to run off Tampa Bay along with Brady. Even with Chris Godwin being franchise tagged again, there is Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, Carlton Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jordan Whitehead, William Gholston, OJ Howard, and Ronald Jones–all hitting unrestricted free agency. The quality and quantity of the Bucs’ 2023 comp picks should be through the roof. Teddy Bridgewater in particular could be an attractive QB option for Tampa Bay, since as described above in the Broncos’ section, signing him would not cancel out a comp pick in the formula. Potential: Very High

Arizona Cardinals

Chandler Jones appears to still have a big market even at age 32 for next season. On the other age end, Christian Kirk is quite young for a UFA at 26 that could get a good deal for a team looking to bolster wide receiver depth. James Conner and Chase Edmonds are a pair of running backs that could similarly be depth bolstering. The Cardinals might not get many comp picks or high comp picks, but if they are restrained with CFA signings could still end up on the list for 2023. Potential: Moderate

Los Angeles Rams

Much like last offseason, the Rams’ pending UFAs are low in quantity (13) but high in quality (Von Miller (albeit capped at the 5th round due to the 10+ accrued seasons rule), Darious Williams, Brian Allen, Austin Corbett, and perhaps Sony Michel). It’s a huge shame in so many ways that Odell Beckham, Jr. tore his ACL in the Super Bowl–for purposes of comp picks, it seems highly unlikely he will sign a contract anywhere anytime soon. Last offseason, the Rams played the comp pick game masterfully to restock their allegedly depleted draft capital to eight total picks by maxing out with four comp picks. Don’t be surprised if they do the same again. Potential: High

San Francisco 49ers

Even while turning 30, Laken Tomlinson still could have a good third contract heading his way. The same could be true for Jaquiski Tartt. On the younger end, DJ Jones appears set to strike it rich on the market if he leaves San Francisco. This is another team that might not see the top tier of compensatory picks for 2023, but could still bolster their draft capital that year nonetheless. Potential: Moderate

Seattle Seahawks

It’s a new era in Seattle with Russell Wilson sent to Denver and Bobby Wagner released. Who knows what the future will hold with the Seahawks? They have tons of cap space, so they could go heavy in free agency to fill some needs, and ignore comp picks this time around. Or, they could double down on the hoard of picks they got from the Broncos, and let players like Duane Brown, Quandre Diggs, DJ Reed, Rasheem Green, Rashaad Penny, and Will Dissly follow Wilson and Wagner in departure. There’s an argument to be had for either direction in the current uncertainty of these crossroads. Potential: Moderate

Projecting the 2022 Compensatory Picks

This article refers specifically to OTC’s final projection for the 2022 NFL Draft’s compensatory picks. For details on the basics and methodology of projecting compensatory picks in general, please reference this article. Note that this projection does not include compensatory picks awarded via 2020 Resolution JC-2A.

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

The Projection

TeamRdCompensated Departure
DET3Kenny Golladay
NO4Trey Hendrickson
PIT4Bud Dupree
BAL4Matt Judon
GB4Corey Linsley
BAL4Yannick Ngakoue
LAR4John Johnson
TEN4Corey Davis
DAL5Andy Dalton
DET5Marvin Jones
IND5Denico Autry
LAR6Gerald Everett
LAR6Samson Ebukam
ATL6Alex Mack
LAR6Troy Hill
NO6Sheldon Rankins
LAC6Tyrod Taylor
ARI6Kenyan Drake
IND6Jacoby Brissett
DET6Jarrad Davis
TEN6DaQuan Jones
SF7Solomon Thomas
LAC7Denzel Perryman
LAC7Dan Feeney
SF7Kerry Hyder
LAC7Sam Tevi
ARI7Dan Arnold
GB7Jamaal Williams
ARI7Angelo Blackson
KC7Damien Wilson
TB7Joe Haeg
SF7C.J. Beathard

This draft, I am projecting that there will be exactly 32 regular compensatory picks generated. There is a chance that there could be more than 32, but any picks that rank 33rd and lower are not awarded, although the official release will typically acknowledge presence of any comp picks in excess of 32. I do not expect fewer than 32 regular compensatory picks to be generated, but if that happens, the NFL Management council will add supplementary 7th round compensatory picks to get to 32, in the order of what would be the eighth round. This draft, the first five teams in order for that would be Jacksonville, Detroit, the New York Jets, the New York Giants, and Houston.

Typically, the official release comes out on the Friday before the NFL Scouting Combine. This year, that is scheduled for March 1-7, so the Friday before would be February 25. However, because the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could still result in different operations than usual for the Combine, there still may be low reliance on that precise date, particularly if there is little to no attendance by NFL executives and player agents. The range of the release could be anywhere after the Super Bowl (February 13) but before the start of free agency (March 16).

Cutoff Projections

The most difficult part of projecting the compensatory picks is accurately identifying where the cutoffs lie between each rounds, and where the cutoff for qualifying as a Compensatory Free Agent (CFA) is. That is because the larger subset of the leaguewide players of which the smaller subset of compensatory free agents are judged against is never the same size, and requires accurately tracking roster transactions for thousands of players–a feat that will always have a margin of error.

The key number that determines these cutoffs is, per Appendix V, Paragraph 2(a) of the CBA, is the number of “all other League players on rosters at the conclusion of the regular season”. This draft, I will be attempting a different way to project this number. In the past, I would use OTC’s database to attempt to identify this number, and this time, it identified 2,133 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists. However, it identified a similar number last year, and that number ended up being nowhere close to what it had to have been to meld OTC’s program with the actual results.

Although I will still list out scenarios that could result if the number is closer to 2,133, instead for this projection I will be using an average of the estimated number of leaguewide players in previous sets of compensatory picks, dating back to 2014. This average comes out to 1,976. If that number is closer to accurate, here is where the cutoffs would lie:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)98Eddie Jackson
4th/5th90th (top 10%)197Brandon Linder
5th/6th85th (top 15%)296Eric Murray
6th/7th75th (top 25%)494Mario Edwards, Jr.
7th/Qualify65th (top 35%)691Cornelius Lucas

However, if the number is closer to the number of 2,133 that OTC’s database suggests, the cutoffs would look closer like this:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)106Bud Dupree
4th/5th90th (top 10%)213Stephon Tuitt
5th/6th85th (top 15%)319Quenton Nelson
6th/7th75th (top 25%)533Jalen Richard
7th/Qualify65th (top 35%)746Nick Folk

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 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.

3rd/4th

  • Higher projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #98
  • Trey Hendrickson (New Orleans): #104
  • Bud Dupree (Pittsburgh): #106
  • Lower projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #106
  • Matt Judon (Baltimore): #109

4th/5th

  • Higher projected 4th/5th cutoff: #197
  • Lower projected 4th/5th cutoff: #213
  • Rayshawn Jenkins (Los Angeles Chargers): #219

5th/6th

  • A.J. Green (Cincinnati): #289
  • Higher projected 5th/6th cutoff: #296
  • Haason Reddick (Arizona): #301
  • Gerald Everett (Los Angeles Rams): #307
  • Lower projected 5th/6th cutoff: #319

6th/7th

  • Higher projected 6th/7th cutoff: #494
  • Solomon Thomas (San Francisco): #528
  • Denzel Perryman (Los Angeles Chargers): #531
  • Dan Feeney (Los Angeles Chargers): #532
  • Lower projected 6th/7th cutoff: #533
  • Kerry Hyder (San Francisco): #535

7th/Qualifying

  • Damien Wilson (Kansas City): #665
  • Joe Haeg (Tampa Bay): #668
  • Nick Vigil (Los Angeles Chargers): #689
  • Higher projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #691
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon (Kansas City): #700
  • John Ross (Cincinnati): #701
  • Justin Hardee (New Orleans): #702
  • Kevin Johnson (Houston): #703
  • Matt Haack (Miami): #715
  • Lower projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #746

Qualifying/Valuation Questions

This draft, by far the most consequential close calls are all bunched together right at the cutoff as to whether contracts will qualify players to become CFAs. In particular, there are four players whose contracts should all be valued equally in the compensatory formula. All four of those players–Tanoh Kpassagnon, John Ross, Justin Hardee, and Kevin Johnson–signed for the same APY, $2.25 million, and none of them were able to play the minimum amount of 25% of the regular season snaps on offense or defense to get a snap count boost in the formula. Therefore, either all four of these players will qualify, or they will not.

Of these four, Hardee is the least consequential, and there should be no consequence to New Orleans: either both of the contracts of Hardee (CFA lost) and Kpassagnon (CFA signed) will qualify, and thus cancel each other out, or both won’t, thus being disregarded, and still keeping their projected 6th round comp pick intact either way. Kpassgnon’s qualification is of minimal consequence to Kansas City, as they would either get a late 7th for his departure or they wouldn’t.

But the two teams that this group of players are more consequential for are Cincinnati and Tennessee. For the Bengals that consequence is high: without Ross’s contract qualifying in their favor, they would have an equal number of CFAs lost and signed, and get no comp picks at all. They need Ross in their cancellation chart in order to open up a potential 4th round comp pick. Inversely, the Titans do not want Johnson’s contract to qualify against them–otherwise they will see a potential 6th round comp pick cancelled out.

There is also a unique circumstance with Kevin Johnson–despite signing that contract with the Titans on March 22, Johnson opted to retire on June 4. I have not seen an example in the past of how the compensatory formula treats retirements of CFAs that do not play a down in the regular season. Because Appendix V does not explicitly have a rule on retired players, I am projecting that the formula will treat Johnson normally and possibly qualify his contract for CFA status. But I could easily be wrong, as it would be rough on the Titans to lose a 6th round pick due to a player that left the team before even training camp started.

At both extremes of the margin of error projected here also contain consequential qualification questions. Joe Haeg, who barely got a snap count boost by playing 26.2%, may have cost the Steelers an additional 5th round comp pick, while Matt Haack, if the qualification cutoff is generous enough, could get Miami on the board with a 5th rounder of their own.

Finally, keep an eye on whether Nick Vigil’s contract qualifies. Playing 59.5% of the snaps, and earning $250,000 in incentives based upon that playtime, may have done the trick. This will mean nothing for the Los Angeles Chargers, as they are projected to already get the maximum number of four comp picks without Vigil’s assistance, but if he qualifies, he should be listed in the official release as a CFA lost for the Chargers, perhaps giving some guidance as to where that qualification cutoff lies.

Beyond the qualifying cutoff, the other consequential cutoff lies at the 5th/6th round, and it is particularly so for Arizona, who are projected under their worst case scenario of a 6th and two 7th rounders. But depending on where that cutoff lies, there could be a best case scenario for them of two 5th rounders and a 7th rounder.

Possible Altering Scenarios

  • Arizona
    • If the contracts of both A.J. Green and Haason Reddick are valued in the 5th round, Arizona will get a 5th for Reddick instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake.
    • If the contracts of both A.J. Green and Haason Reddick are valued in the 6th round, Arizona will get a higher 5th for Patrick Peterson instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake.
    • If Haason Reddick’s contract is valued in the 5th round and A.J. Green’s contract in the 6th round, Arizona will get two 5ths for Patrick Peterson and Reddick instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake and a 7th for Dan Arnold.
  • Cincinnati
    • If John Ross qualifies, Cincinnati will get a 4th for Carl Lawson.
  • Kansas City
    • If Damien Wilson does not qualify, Kansas City will not get a 7th for his departure.
    • If Tanoh Kpassagnon qualifies, Kansas City will be eligible for a 7th for his departure, but that pick may not make the 32-pick limit.
  • Los Angeles Chargers
    • If Rayshawn Jenkins’s contract is valued in the 4th round, the Los Angeles Chargers will get a 4th for him instead of a 6th for Tyrod Taylor.
  • Miami
    • If Matt Haack qualifies, Miami will get a 5th for Davon Godchaux.
  • Pittsburgh
    • If Joe Haeg does not qualify, Pittsburgh will get a 5th for Matt Feiler.
  • Tampa Bay
    • If Joe Haeg does not qualify, Tampa Bay will not get a 7th for his departure.
  • Tennessee
    • If Kevin Johnson qualifies, Tennessee will not get a 6th for DaQuan Jones.

The Potential Pay Raises From 2021 Pro Bowl Honors

With voting for the Pro Bowl in its prime, and a preliminary list of leaders from the fan votes released by the NFL, here is your annual guide toward how you, as a fan (or even players, if they just so happen to read this) can maximize your Pro Bowl vote to help top players in the league earn pay raises via mechanisms in the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There are two situations in the CBA where an original ballot (not as an alternate) Pro Bowl honor could result in a raise in salary:

  • Article 7, Section 4(e)(iv) creates a tier of Proven Performance Escalator that can raise the salary of a player drafted outside of the first round to the value of the 2nd round restricted free agent tender.
  • Article 7, Section 7(g)(iii-iv) calls for fifth year options on first round rookie contracts to equate to the transition tag if named to a Pro Bowl once in their first three seasons, and to the franchise tag for two or three.

Here are some of the players that could see notable raises in their salaries should they earn an original ballot Pro Bowl, grouped by conference and position. All numbers used are OTC’s estimates for the fifth year options for the 2019 first round picks, and for the franchise, transition, and RFA tenders. To maximize strategic voting, prioritize on your ballot players from the 2019 rookie class, as this will be last time they are eligible for the following pay raises.

AFC Quarterback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Joe BurrowFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$4M-$7M
Justin HerbertFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$4M-$7M

Burrow and Herbert are 11th and 4th in passing yards, 8th and 5th in touchdowns, and 9th and 15th in passer rating. They will have to fend off the typical clubhouse leaders in their conference in Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson in order to work on these pay raises. But a Pro Bowl bid now for Burrow and Herbert is necessary if they want to reach the highest fifth year options possible, as that requires two Pro Bowl honors before their third seasons are over.

NFC Quarterback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Kyler MurrayFifth Year Option$25,641,000$28,583,000$2,942,000

Murray was named to the Pro Bowl last season, securing at least a transition tag amount for his fifth year option that should be a raise of over $4 million. A Pro Bowl bid this season likely boosts that salary another $3 million higher. The league leader in passer rating, Murray’s likely competitors for this spot will be Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, and Dak Prescott.

AFC Running Back

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Josh JacobsFifth Year Option$10,140,000$12,523,000$2,383,000
Jonathan TaylorProven Performance Escalator$1,677,613~$4,195,000~$2,517,387
Najee HarrisFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$5M-7M

Taylor is the leaguewide leader in Pro Bowl fan votes at this moment, and his election feels imminent. This is especially important for Taylor, because as a running back who naturally plays fewer snaps than players at other positions, Taylor is currently ineligible for any PPE raise. A Pro Bowl bid would shoot him all the way to the top PPE tier, and keep him there for good.

Jacobs surprised most by securing a Pro Bowl bid last season, and while it’s highly unlikely he’ll do so again, he’s included for completion purposes at one last shot at another pay raise. As a rookie, Harris, 8th in rushing yards, has some extra time to get to the Pro Bowl, but if he gets named now, in a season when Derrick Henry is likely out for the remainder of the season, he has a better chance to get that franchise tag raise that could very well be as high as a $7 million difference.

NFC Running Back

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Antonio GibsonProven Performance Escalator$2,721,000 ~$4,195,000~$1,474,000

Gibson has quietly put together a nice season in DC, ranking 7th in rushing yards leaguewide. He’ll have to fend off bigger names like Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, and Leonard Fournette to get this pay raise. As part of the 2020 rookie class, Gibson will have another shot next season if he doesn’t get it now.

AFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Diontae JohnsonProven Performance Escalator$2,646,000$3,927,000$1,281,000
Michael Pittman, Jr.Proven Performance Escalator$2,971,000~$4,195,000~$1,224,000
Ja’Marr ChaseFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$4M-7M

Chase currently leads the fan vote, and getting named now will help his cause toward getting the maximum raise on his fifth year option. But I’ll flag two long shot PPE raise candidates in Johnson and Pittman, currently 5th and 6th among AFC receivers in yardage.

NFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Terry McLaurinProven Performance Escalator$2,646,000$3,927,000$1,281,000

It’s pretty stunning that McLaurin has yet to make a Pro Bowl despite his contribution over the past three seasons. He’ll be a long shot this time around due to being 8th in receiving yardage in the NFC, but this is his last chance to get that hard earned raise.

NFC Tight End

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Kyle PittsFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3M-$4M

Not much to say here: Pitts leads the fan voting at this position, and is living up to the hype as the 4th overall rookie this season. Pitts could be well on his way to easily securing that franchise tag raise by the time his 5th year option comes around.

AFC Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Rashawn SlaterFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$2M-$4M

For positions like the offensive line where traditional stats aren’t as helpful, I’ll use our OTC Valuation metric for some assistance. And by this metric, there is no other tackle ahead of this impressive rookie.

NFC Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Tristan WirfsFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$2M-$4M

By OTC valuation, Wirfs is the highest rated right tackle in the league, and is behind only Donovan Smith (his teammate) and Tyron Smith among NFC tackles.

AFC Guard

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Dalton RisnerProven Performance Escalator$2,646,000$3,927,000$1,281,000
Michael OnwenuProven Performance Escalator$2,971,000~$4,195,000~$1,224,000
Trey SmithProven Performance Escalator$3,374,000~$4,764,000~$1,390,000

This is Risner’s last chance to get a PPE raise, even if it’s daunting. Onwenu currently leads the league in OTC valuation, while Smith has been an impressive 6th round rookie that is typical from being coached by Andy Reid.

NFC Guard

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Chris LindstromFifth Year Option$12,745,000$14,997,000$2,252,000

Lindstrom ranks 5th among NFC guards in OTC valuation, and as a member of the 2019 rookie class, this is his last chance to secure a raise on his fifth year option

NFC Center

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Tyler BiadaszProven Performance Escalator$2,721,000~$4,195,000~$1,474,000

Biadasz leads the fan voting at this position, and the PPE raise would be higher than most other offensive linemen, as Biadasz currently is only at the lowest tier of achievement here due to low snaps in his rookie season.

AFC Defensive Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Jeffery SimmonsFifth Year Option$10,067,000$13,596,000$3,529,000
Christian WilkinsFifth Year Option$10,067,000$13,596,000$3,529,000

Simmons leads the fan voting at this position, and both he and Wilkins are members of the 2019 rookie class that grade out well in OTC valuation, ranking 1st and 3rd among AFC players the NFL considers defensive tackles.

NFC Defensive Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Dexter LawrenceFifth Year Option$10,067,000$13,596,000$3,529,000

Lawrence is another defensive tackle from the 2019 rookie class with one last shot at a fifth year option raise, though in his case he’ll be a longer shot to fend off the likes of dominant regulars like Aaron Donald, as well as his own teammate in Leonard Williams.

NFC Defensive End

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Nick BosaFifth Year Option$16,622,000$20,186,000$3,564,000
Brian BurnsFifth Year Option$10,289,000$16,622,000$6,333,000

Bosa leads the fan voting here, and should be a shoe-in to get this fifth year option raise. But it’s Burns, who is second only to Bosa in sacks among NFC players the NFL considers to be defensive ends, who could get a much more massive raise, due to not even playing enough snaps to qualify for the playtime boost in fifth year option pay.

AFC Outside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Josh AllenFifth Year Option$10,553,000$14,882,000$4,329,000

Allen does not have the sack totals to stand out, and he’ll have a daunting task to best big names like TJ Watt and Matt Judon, but his draft pedigree and his big showing against The Other Josh Allen shouldn’t rule him out for his last chance to get a significant raise.

AFC Inside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Bobby OkerekeProven Performance Escalator$2,396,000$3,927,000$1,531,000
Devin BushFifth Year Option$10,553,000$14,882,000$3,508,000
Patrick QueenFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3.5M-$6M

Bush and Queen are first round picks that play for teams with high profile defenses that could benefit from a Pro Bowl honor–particularly Bush, who’s on his last chance. Okereke is a dark horse candidate that’s also on his last chance, and in his case he would get a higher PPE raise than others, as he’s currently only on the lowest level of such a raise.

NFC Inside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Devin WhiteFifth Year Option$11,374,000$14,882,000$3,508,000
Micah ParsonsFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3.5M-$6M

White leads the fan vote at this position, while Parsons is a legitimate candidate for Defensive Rookie Of The Year. It would be better for White to get the honor over Parsons if it comes down to it, as this is White’s last chance at a raise.

AFC Free Safety

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Jeremy ChinnProven Performance Escalator$2,971,000 ~$4,195,000~$1,224,000

With most of the heavy hitters at this position (Justin Simmons, Kevin Byard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Micah Hyde) in the AFC, perhaps that could open up an opportunity for Chinn on the NFC side. He’ll have another chance next season if he doesn’t get it now.

AFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Patrick Surtain IIFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3M-$6M

Surtain had a dominant performance last week against the Chargers, intercepting Justin Herbert twice, and could be right along Parsons in the Defensive Rookie Of The Year conversation. Tre’Davious White going down for the season could end up cracking the door open for a rookie Pro Bowl bid alongside the likes of AFC veterans like Marlon Humphrey, JC Jackson, or Xavien Howard.

NFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Trevon DiggsProven Performance Escalator$2,971,000~$4,195,000 ~$1,224,000

Diggs leads the fan voting at this position, and has been a prominent defender for a prominent team in Dallas.

OTC’s Salary Cap Calculator Has Been Upgraded

The very first project I did for Over The Cap was to develop the Salary Cap Calculator, a device that allows users to run an array of transactions for any team, and demonstrate how those transactions will change the team’s salary cap status. This project was done back in 2014, and in the seven years since, much has changed with not only league rules with a new CBA, but also with web development in general. The code that had been used to write the calculator was growing increasingly unstable, and with difficult usability across an array of devices.

Thus, I’m happy to release the second version of the OTC Salary Cap Calculator, with its aim to fix most of these issues. Much of the changes come in the form of coding changes that will not be visible to the end user, but there are several changes that you will see as you interact, while preserving some of the features you’re already used to:

  • Emphasis has been made to make the calculator more friendly to operate on phones and tablets, as we anticipate that many of our users would like to make hypothetical roster changes while they’re on the move. Interaction elements, such as buttons, dropdown menus, and input fields, have been redimensioned to make it easier to operate on touch devices. On phones, it is preferred to operate in landscape mode in order to be able to fully use all features, but the aim is that it will still be more accessible than the first version.
  • In a similar effort to preserve space for usability across devices, we have merged all non-prorated bonuses into one column. If you are interested in separating such bonuses into their specific categories (regular roster bonus, per-game roster bonus, workout bonus, etc.) or to craft in incentives and escalators, we recommend that you go into more detail with using OTC’s Contract Constructor.
  • In another space-conserving measure, the table at the top listing the cap space, liabilities, and team salary cap has been limited to four seasons. We feel that the grand majority of users will not have much interest in these numbers beyond four seasons. However, for seasons further out you may select the tabs that go out to ten seasons, and see the team’s liabilities at the bottom of the table for that season.
  • The “Extend” feature has been reworked and expanded to also include renegotiations that do not typically qualify as extensions. This can include actions such as cutting a player’s pay, or adding void seasons to maximize the proration of cap dollars beyond what is available via a restructure. The infrastructure for this is the same that is used for OTC’s Contract Constructor, so you will see some familiarity between the two.
  • You may now add any player from another team by using the “Add External Player…” autocomplete field, regardless of contract status. If that player is not a free agent, the calculator will assume the player is being acquired by trade, with all contract details for future seasons imported–other than prorated bonuses that remain the liability of the old team. You will also be given the option to renegotiate the existing contract if so desired.
  • A bug that prevented users from trading a player after June 1 should now be fixed.
  • Franchise and transition tag numbers for certain players have been corrected to account for minimum 20% raises from their prior salaries, as mandated by Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA.
  • The age of each player for each given season is now provided, alongside the number of accrued seasons he is projected to have by the beginning of that season.

We hope this upgrade will provide a better experience for you as we continue to assist you with understanding the operations of NFL contracts and the salary cap. As we have been busy with other tasks, both within and outside OTC, internal testing has been limited, and we may have missed some other bugs in the process. If you see any such bugs, or have other suggestions on how to improve the calculator further, please use OTC’s Technical Support contact form, or reach out to me on Twitter at @nickkorte.

Fictional Trade Deadline Tender – 2021 Season

At this time last season, I offered up a modest proposal to try to nudge more activity around the trade deadline. With this season’s trade deadline approaching, I thought I’d revisit this exercise, and call this hypothetical rule change the Fictional Trade Deadline Tender.

To review, here are its rules. First, it is determined which players are eligible to be offered a Fictional Trade Deadline Tender:

  1. The player must be on a team that has either zero or one wins by the trade deadline. (The idea here is that with a minimum of six losses plus ties, even with an expanded playoff slate it would still be daunting to come back from that hole.)
  2. The player’s contract must be set to expire at the conclusion of this season.
  3. The player must be on a vested veteran contract. (That’s defined here as having at least four accrued seasons before the current season started, and also not on a rookie contract.)
  4. The player additionally may not be on a one year contract resulting from being given a franchise or transition tender. (The idea here is that we are giving teams the benefit of the doubt that they are using these tenders in a good faith effort to later extend them.)

Among those players, the following procedure would then take place:

  1. In the 24 hours after the trade deadline ends (this year, Tuesday, November 2 at 4 PM ET), any team may tender any amount of draft pick compensation it is willing to surrender to a team in exchange for the player it would like to acquire.
  2. After this 24 hour period ends (this year, Wednesday, November 3 at 4 PM ET), the NFL notifies all teams and players in question who has been given a Fictional Trade Deadline Tender offer. If multiple tenders are offered for the same player, the tender with the higher draft compensation wins out, and compensation ties will be broken by the standard waiver order.
  3. For the next 48 hours (this year, ending on Friday, November 5 at 4 PM ET), the player decides whether or not to accept the offer. If so desired, the player and team may renegotiate their contract to avoid the trade, and they may also be granted an exemption from the trade deadline to trade the player to a different team for different compensation, should both sides agree upon it.

The list of players on the right (or below on small mobile devices) are the players that would be eligible for the Fictional Trade Deadline Tender in 2021. This season, the teams that could see some of their players end up on this list are the Lions, Dolphins, Texans, Jets, and Jaguars. The players on the Lions will be there no matter what, while the players on the other teams will remain should they lose in Week 8.

Take a look at the list, and have some fun thinking about which of these players could be good fits on other teams.

NameTeamPos.AgeSnapsRemaining Salary
Alex AnzaloneDETLB2799.1%$972,222
Andrew NorwellJAXLG3098.5%$5,000,000
Christian KirkseyHOULB2998.1%$1,388,889
Morgan MosesNYJRT3087.2%$888,889
Justin BrittHOUC3082.4%$1,500,000
Damien WilsonJAXLB2876.8%$638,889
Chris ConleyHOUWR2969.1%$694,444
Desmond KingHOUCB2769.1%$1,388,889
Kamu Grugier-HillHOULB2765.9%$833,333
Charles HarrisDETEDGE2664.1%$777,778
Emmanuel OgbahMIAEDGE2863.4%$4,152,778
Nicholas WilliamsDETIDL3162.5%$833,333
Maliek CollinsHOUIDL2658.5%$1,666,667
Jason McCourtyMIAS3457.3%$597,222
Jacoby BrissettMIAQB2955.9%$1,388,889
Vernon HargreavesHOUCB2654.9%$722,222
Elandon RobertsMIALB2754.5%$744,444
A.J. CannJAXRG3050.9%$2,736,111
Jihad WardJAXEDGE2749.8%$1,083,333
Tyler KroftNYJTE2944.7%$972,222
David JohnsonHOURB3043.9%$1,111,111
Jalen Reeves-MaybinDETLB2643.6%$1,244,444
Adam GotsisJAXEDGE2943.1%$550,000
DeMarcus WalkerHOUIDL2738.9%$666,667
Justin ColemanMIACB2838.4%$833,333
Greg ManczMIAC2938.3%$550,000
Mark IngramHOURB3238.1%$1,111,111
Mack HollinsMIAWR2837%$550,000
Keelan ColeNYJWR2836.4%$1,388,889
Adrian ColbertNYJS2835.7%$550,000
John JenkinsMIAIDL3233.4%$645,833
Jamison CrowderNYJWR2833.2%$3,055,556
Darren FellsDETTE3532.1%$597,222
Sharrod NeasmanNYJS3031.8%$550,000
Antony AuclairHOUTE2830.4%$550,000
Jon WeeksHOULS3530.4%$597,222
Malcolm BrownMIARB2828%$861,111
Jaleel JohnsonHOUIDL2727.9%$550,000
Albert WilsonMIAWR2927.4%$1,625,000
Dean MarloweDETS2927.3%$550,000
Brennan ScarlettMIALB2825.8%$550,000
Tyrod TaylorHOUQB3224.1%$1,666,667
Chris MooreHOUWR2823.4%$550,000
Michael PalardyMIAP2923.1%$555,556
Nevin LawsonJAXCB3022.4%$708,333
Tavon AustinJAXWR3121%$597,222
Tyler ShatleyJAXC3020.7%$1,034,722
Thomas MorsteadNYJP3519.9%$597,222
Jacob HollisterJAXTE2819.7%$550,000
Austin ReiterMIAC3015.9%$550,000
James O’ShaughnessyJAXTE2915.9%$806,944
Will FullerMIAWR2714.1%$550,000
Danny AmendolaHOUWR3612.3%$833,333
Tevin ColemanNYJRB2810.7%$555,556
Rex BurkheadHOURB319.5%$763,889
Geronimo AllisonDETWR279.3%$550,000
Terrence BrooksHOUCB299.1%$833,333
Daryl WorleyDETCB268.4%$550,000
Tyrell WilliamsDETWR298.1%$1,111,111
Lerentee McCrayJAXEDGE315.7%$550,000
Vincent TaylorHOUIDL275.6%$694,444
Duke RileyMIALB273.8%$550,000
Daniel BrownNYJTE292.7%$550,000
Neville HewittHOULB282.2%$833,333
Lamarcus JoynerNYJS312%$1,111,111
Jeff DriskelHOUQB280%$550,000
Conor McDermottNYJRG290%$611,111
Dan FeeneyNYJLG270%$1,111,111
Jarrad DavisNYJLB270%$1,666,667
Alex LewisNYJLG290%$1,944,444