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Introducing New Cash Flow Features To OTC

There are several important factors to consider when analyzing NFL contracts. Most observers are well aware of the Average Per Year (APY), as well as how essential fully guaranteed money is for the well being of players and for the roster management of teams.

But cash flows–the timing of when, and how much, money goes from a team to a player–is the other important metric that doesn’t get as much attention, yet should. And we at OTC hope to raise more awareness of cash flows to the NFL discourse.

Securing the bag

To explain the importance, let’s say that you are good enough at your job that someone is willing to pay a very large sum of money to you over a course of multiple years. In what manner would you want that money to be distributed to you? Generally, you want as much as you can get as soon as possible. That’s because it would give you greater ability to utilize the benefit of money to its fullest extent, whether that is spending it on goods and services that would immediately improve your life, or taking advantage of compound interest via investing on your part, instead of your employer’s.

In the NFL, the importance of getting as much cash as you can as soon as you can is considerably heightened when, as is well known, the length of contracts can be deceiving. A recent OTC database query indicates that most contracts of three years or more fail to last beyond two seasons, with the odds of the contract being terminated after just one season being greater than the contract being fully completed.

As such, a contract with a very high APY or even high guarantees may end up being a poor deal for the player if the cash is backloaded into seasons the player never sees with the team.

Our new cash flow features

To help you better understand how cash flows in the NFL work, we’ve launched two resources to get you started just before free agency, with plans to expand in the future.

The first is our central cash flows page that can be found under the Contracts dropdown of OTC’s dashboard. Here, you’ll find all active contracts listed by how much they are paying over the course of each year of the contract. As with other pages, the columns are sortable and can be filtered by team and position.

There are two tabs to view:

  • Annual cash payments are a useful place to go to see just how much cash is due to a player in any given year, which can be important in times like this when teams are judging whether they feel players are worth those payments, even regardless of their accounting on the current salary cap.
  • However, the view is defaulted to running cash flows, which are a summation of how much the player is set to earn over the course of the contract. This is more important in judging the cash value of a contract as a whole, instead of over just a given year.

To further illustrate the importance of running cash flows, let’s go right to the top four contracts in APY in the league, all quarterbacks:

Patrick Mahomes has been renowned for shattering the APY ceiling in the NFL. But take a look at how much money is coming to him in the first four years of his extension, officially starting in 2022. Mahomes is behind all three of his peers in earning new money through the first two years, does not pass Aaron Rodgers until Year 3, and is still behind Deshaun Watson by Year 4.

Mahomes shouldn’t be begrudged for choosing to play the long game–he is in a very safe position in the NFL, after all. But there’s a reason why ten year contracts like he signed are extremely rare–almost all other players in the NFL won’t get the benefit from a team of presumptive employment that long. Instead, the aim for players is to frontload as much cash as you can early on in the contract.

The second view is that each active player now has a cash flow section on his dedicated page, right below the main contract details and notes. This section will document the annual and running cash due to each player, as well as visualizing the progress he has made in his contract.

Let’s use Garett Bolles, a left tackle recently extended by the Broncos, as an example:

Within his $68 million extension was a shade under $2 million classified as old money, cash that he had already earned or was scheduled to earn under his previous contract. Bolles was paid a $20 million signing bonus to kick off his new contract, of which has obviously been marked as earned. As you can see, Bolles has already surpassed more than a quarter of earning his entire contract.

But in 2021, the first official year of his extension, you can see how minimal his pay is, just $1 million. This is somewhat a misleading extreme, as this feature was designed more to keep Bolles’s 2021 cap number low. But when this view is paired with comparison at his peers at his position, it can be demonstrated that it will take him longer to earn his money. Of course, like with Mahomes, Bolles shouldn’t be begrudged for his decision to get the comfort of knowing where he’s going to play for the long term.

Preparing for free agency

As we see start to see news of new contracts trickle out 10 days from now, keep an eye on how these contracts measure up in cash flows. Typically, when you see an NFL insider explicitly report that a player will be paid $X in the first year, $Y over two years, $Z over three years, and so on, the source is coming from the agents’ side that is positive about how the cash will flow to the player. Similarly, whenever you hear a report that contains only the APY and/or guarantees, even if impressive, once we have the contract up on OTC double check to see how the cash flows stack up with other positional comparables. It might end up demonstrating that the player ceded ground on this metric in return.

Projecting The 2021 Compensatory Picks

This article refers specifically to OTC’s projection for the 2021 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, of which, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, are awarded separately.

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

The Projection

TeamRoundCompensated DepartureAPY
NE3Tom Brady$27,375,000
LAC3Philip Rivers$25,000,000
NO3Teddy Bridgewater$21,000,000
DAL3Byron Jones$16,500,000
TEN3Jack Conklin$14,000,000
LAR3Dante Fowler Jr.$15,000,000
DAL4Robert Quinn$14,000,000
NE4Kyle Van Noy$12,750,000
LAR4Cory Littleton$11,750,000
PIT4Javon Hargrave$13,000,000
GB4Blake Martinez$10,250,000
MIN4Trae Waynes$14,000,000
KC4Kendall Fuller$10,000,000
NE4Jamie Collins$10,000,000
GB5Bryan Bulaga$10,000,000
DAL5Randall Cobb$9,000,000
KC5Emmanuel Ogbah$7,500,000
ATL5Vic Beasley$9,500,000
SF5Emmanuel Sanders$8,000,000
ATL5De’Vondre Campbell$7,000,000
BAL5Michael Pierce$9,000,000
CAR5Vernon Butler$7,625,000
TB5Breshad Perriman$6,500,000
ATL6Wes Schweitzer$4,500,000
CHI6Nicholas Williams$5,000,000
PHI6Jordan Howard$4,875,000
GB6Kyler Fackrell$4,600,000
MIN6Mackensie Alexander$4,000,000
CAR6Daryl Williams$3,350,000
CHI6Chase Daniel$4,350,000
PIT6Sean Davis$4,000,000
DAL6Jeff Heath$3,375,000
Compensation over 34-pick limit; not awarded
PHI6Ronald Darby$3,000,000
CHI6Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix$3,750,000
PIT6Tyler Matakevich$3,575,000
TB6Beau Allen$3,500,000
CHI6Kevin Pierre-Louis$3,000,000
ATL7Adrian Clayborn$2,875,000
PHI7Kamu Grugier-Hill$3,000,000
MIN7Andrew Sendejo$2,250,000
IND7Devin Funchess$2,500,000
NE7Elandon Roberts$2,125,000
IND7Joe Haeg$2,300,000
MIN7Jayron Kearse$2,000,000
BAL7Patrick Onwuasor$2,000,000

Note that although there are 45 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 presence of any comp picks in excess of 32, as this list does with strikethrough text.

Typically, the official release comes out on the Friday before the NFL Scouting Combine. However, since a traditional combine will highly likely not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be no reliable date to expect this release. Thus, expect the release to be some time after the Super Bowl (February 7) but before the start of free agency (March 17).

New Challenges

Last year was my most successful projection, correctly identifying all eligible compensatory picks to each team, and being off by one round on only three picks. However, this year I do not expect to be anywhere near close to that accurate, due to significant changes in the compensatory formula, as well as sui generis factors due to the pandemic.

Changes from the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement

The 2020 CBA revealed, via Appendix V, how the compensatory formula is governed. Notable explicit changes and revelations are as follows:

  • Per game roster bonuses now count in full. In the past, such bonuses declared not likely to be earned (NLTBE) may not have consistently counted.
  • Workout bonuses, weight bonuses, incentives, and escalators will count if they are either ones earned in the first year of the player’s contract, or are considered likely to be earned (LTBE).
  • The only honors that are recognized are those awarded by the AP All-Pro and PFWA On-Field Awards lists–and their recognition is minimal.
  • Compensatory free agents (CFAs) must now rank in the top 35% of leaguewide players to qualify. Previously, this was 50%.
  • The restriction of compensation to the 5th round for players with 10 or more accrued seasons does not apply to quarterbacks. (This is highly relevant this year due to the presence of Tom Brady and Philip Rivers as CFAs, whose departures should award the top two comp picks.)
  • Players, even if they are otherwise considered Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) are no longer eligible to become CFAs if they did not complete the “Maximum Possible Term” of their contract. Specifically, this removes the ability of teams to get comp picks for players with declined options. The only exception to this new rule are for automatic void years for purposes of prorating cap dollars.
  • Players who sign Veteran Salary Benefit contracts are ineligible to become CFAs. (However, moving the percentile qualification to 35% likely makes this rule moot.)
  • Teams may now designate players as “Excluded UFAs” that disqualify them from being CFAs, so long as they are signed to one year deals for no more than $1.75 million. This projection assumes that all such players were designated as such.

In addition, there are a few changes not explicitly written but may be implicit:

  • Appendix V makes no mention of the previous rule of players being disqualified from being CFAs if they were cut in their first season before Week 10, or before they accrued 10 weeks on the roster. This omission is believed to imply that this rule has been abolished, and thus once a CFA is signed, he will remain a CFA.
  • While Appendix V explicitly says that the period for signings counting in the compensatory formula ends on the Monday following the NFL Draft, this may also include signings that were agreed upon in principle before that date, even if they were officially signed after.

Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition to these long term changes in the CBA, on August 3, 2020 the owners and players agreed to a short term agreement that alters operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those changes included a Reserve/COVID-19 list where players were placed upon should they have contracted the virus, or been in close contact with someone who has contracted it, and also included an opt-out mechanism for players who did not want to play during the pandemic.

This agreement made no mention of how it would affect the compensatory formula, so we are left to try to piece that part of the puzzle for ourselves:

  • The first question would be whether players who opted out, of which included a few key CFAs, would still count in the compensatory formula. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reports that the answer is yes. Additionally, it is reasonable to speculate that such players, since they didn’t play, will receive no boost in their ranking from snap counts.
  • There is also the question of whether players who were on the Reserve/COVID-19 list will count as players in the number of leaguewide players CFAs are judged against. Appendix V says that number is “all players on rosters at the conclusion of a regular season”. Typically, this appears to include players that are on reserve lists, of which Reserve/COVID-19 is one of them. However, if they are not counted, it would change the cutoffs for each round and for CFA qualification, and potentially the awarded comp picks themselves.

Cutoff Projections

On that note, let’s address that most difficult part of projecting the compensatory picks–accurately identifying where these cutoffs lie. 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.

At the end of the 2020 regular season, OTC’s database identified a total of 2,158 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists. This number includes 64 players that were on the Reserve/COVID-19 list at that time. If 2,158 is an accurate number, this is what the cutoffs would look like:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)109Derrick Henry
4th/5th90th (top 10%)217Rob Gronkowski
5th/6th85th (top 15%)325Saquon Barkley
6th/7th75th (top 25%)541DJ Moore
7th/Qualify65th (top 35%)756Christian Kirk

However, if the Reserve COVID/19 players are not counted, the number would be 2,094, and the cutoffs would look like this:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)106Eric Fisher
4th/5th90th (top 10%)210Alex Mack
5th/6th85th (top 15%)315Laken Tomlinson
6th/7th75th (top 25%)525Derek Wolfe
7th/Qualify65th (top 35%)734Andy Janovich

The difference is subtle, but in a few cases may change the projection of certain comp picks.

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.

3rd/4th

  • Dante Fowler (Los Angeles Rams): #93
  • Possible projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #106
  • Possible projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #109
  • Robert Quinn (Dallas): #118
  • Kyle Van Noy (New England): #120

4th/5th

  • Jamie Collins (New England): #194
  • Possible projected 4th/5th cutoff: #210
  • Possible projected 4th/5th cutoff: #217

5th/6th

  • Vernon Butler (Carolina): #296
  • Breshad Perriman (Tampa Bay): #302
  • Possible projected 5th/6th cutoff: #315
  • AJ Klein (New Orleans): #322
  • Possible projected 5th/6th cutoff: #325
  • Maliek Collins (Dallas): #326

6th/7th

  • Ted Karras (New England): #492
  • Jeff Heath (Philadelphia): #497
  • Ronald Darby (Philadelphia): #499
  • Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Chicago): #510
  • Tyler Matakevich (Pittsburgh): #519
  • Adrian Phillips (San Angeles): #520
  • Beau Allen (Tampa Bay): #524
  • Possible projected 6th/7th cutoff: #525
  • Derek Wolfe (Denver): #531
  • Kevin Pierre-Lewis: #539
  • Possible projected 6th/7th cutoff: #541
  • Greg Zuerlein: #544
  • Derek Watt (Pittsburgh): #549
  • Xavier Su’a-Filo (Dallas): #562
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill: #585

7th/Qualifying

  • Jayron Kearse (Minnesota): #719
  • Nate Ebner (New England): #722
  • Patrick Onwuasor (Baltimore): #723
  • Possible projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #734
  • Possible projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #756

Qualifying/Valuation Questions

As mentioned above, CFAs who were cut before the regular season ended are believed to still remain CFAs in the compensatory formula. But just in case, those specific players this year were Gerald McCoy, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Sean Davis, Seth Roberts, Vic Beasley, and Jordan Howard.

Similarly, it is believed that players who opted out of the 2020 season will also count in the formula. The only two relevant CFAs in this group would be Michael Pierce and Devin Funchess.

On top of all this, the most unusual contract signed this offseason for purposes of CFA qualification was that of Jameis Winston. I’ll quote what I said back in April on this subject:

Most would have guessed that even as a backup quarterback, Winston would sign a contract that would be CFA eligible, provided he signed before April 27. On April 26, Charles Robinson reported that Winston was finalizing a contract with the Saints. Soon after, Katherine Terrell, the Saints reporter for The Athletic, said that the deal would not be officially processed until after the comp pick deadline passed. However, by the end of the day, Greg Auman, also at The Athletic reporting on the Bucs, said that teams aren’t allowed to circumvent this deadline, thus that Winston might qualify anyway even if the official processing was after April 27.

Proof of this may reside in the NFL’s two official transaction wires on April 28. On the AM wire, it contained a long list of UFAs that did not receive the UFA Tender from their former teams, and “[a]s a result, such players are not compensable free agents under the Compensatory Draft System.” However, Winston, as well as a few other players, were not on this list. Then, on the PM wire, while there were dozens of free agent signings listed, Winston was one of three players listed in a separate subsection as signed under the “Free Agency System Signings”.

In my opinion, this is strong evidence to suggest that the NFL Management Council is declaring that Winston will be a CFA on the basis of the deadline. If so, that’s potentially a blow against the Saints, who would lose a 6th rounder for the departure of AJ Klein, with the signing of Winston canceling out that departure. It would also raise questions on how the NFL Management Council would come to this conclusion. Had the Saints and Winston kept negotiations secret until after April 27 at 4 PM ET, would they have secured that Winston wouldn’t have qualified as a CFA?

However, there’s another wrinkle that may still disqualify Winston from becoming a CFA. That is that he signed for far less than most expected. According to Field Yates, the base value of Winston’s contract is $1.1 million, which is far too low to qualify on its own. But $3.4 million in incentives were also part of the contract. Under the new CBA, incentives that are considered Likely To Be Earned count in the compensatory formula. Tom Pelissero later reported the breakdown of his incentives: based on playtime in both the regular season and playoffs, and the Pro Bowl. Since in 2019 the Bucs did not make the playoffs and Winston was not named to the Pro Bowl, those incentives will be NLTBE. However, since Winston played over 99% of the snaps in 2019, there’s a good chance that the $1.76 million incentive for regular season playtime will be LTBE. If that is correct, Winston’s APY for comp pick purposes would be $2.86 million, and even if he didn’t play a snap in 2020, that should be enough for him to qualify as a CFA.

Possible Altering Scenarios

  • Baltimore
    • If Seth Roberts and Patrick Onwuasor qualify, and Derek Wolfe’s contract is valued as a 7th rounder, Baltimore will get a 6th for Roberts.
  • Carolina
    • If Vernon Butler’s contract is valued in the 6th round, Carolina will get a 6th for Greg Van Roten instead of a 5th for Butler.
  • Dallas
    • If Maliek Collins’s contract is valued in the 5th round, Dallas will get a 5th for him instead of a 6th for Jeff Heath.
    • If Maliek Collins’s contract is valued in the 6th round, and the contracts of Jeff Heath, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, and Greg Zuerlein are valued in the 7th round, Dallas will get a higher 6th for Jason Witten.
    • If the contracts of Maliek Collins, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, and Greg Zuerlein are all valued in the 6th round, Dallas will not get a 6th for Jeff Heath, and an eligible 7th for Xavier Su’a-Filo will not make the 32 pick limit.
  • New England
    • If one of the contracts of either Adrian Phillips or Beau Allen are valued in the 7th round, and Ted Karras’s contract is valued in the 6th round, New England will get a 6th for Karras.
    • If the contracts of both Adrian Phillips and Beau Allen are valued in the 7th round, New England will get a 6th for Danny Shelton.
  • New Orleans
    • If Jameis Winston does not qualify, New Orleans will get a 5th or a 6th for AJ Klein.
  • Pittsburgh
    • If Derek Watt’s contract is valued in the 6th round, Pittsburgh will not get a 6th for Sean Davis, and an eligible 7th for Nick Vannett will not make the 32 pick limit.
  • Tampa Bay
    • If Jameis Winston does not qualify, Tampa Bay will not be eligible for any comp pick for Beau Allen in any scenario.
    • If Jameis Winston qualifies but Beau Allen’s contract is valued in the 7th round, Tampa Bay will not be eligible for a comp pick for Allen, and instead be eligible for a 7th for Winston that will not make the 32 pick limit.

The Potential Pay Raises From Potential 2020 Pro Bowl Honors

The Pro Bowl is a fickle award, in multiple ways:

  • It is, of course, an entirely subjective award, determined from the opinions of the players, coaches, and fans.
  • The number of players per position it awards is not a perfect match to the field–for example, there are as many quarterbacks and running backs named as there are safeties, even though there are usually more safeties on the field.
  • It is divided by conference, meaning some great players can get denied the honor if their conference has much tougher competition at their position than the other conference.
  • And some position designations are antiquated–particularly for edge rushers, who are at the whim of their coordinator’s scheme of whether they’re designated defensive ends or linebackers, and the differing competition they could have as a result.

When individual contracts are negotiated, occasionally there are Pro Bowl incentives or escalators, but it’s more common to see more objective metrics such as yardage, touchdowns, negative plays on defense, snap counts, or postseason play. However, despite some of the issues listed above, the 2020 CBA unusually implemented leaguewide Pro Bowl escalators in standardized contracts.

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 new 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.

This article will take a look at 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 2018 first round picks, and for the franchise, transition, and RFA tenders.

AFC Quarterback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Baker MayfieldFifth Year Option$18,281,000$21,206,000$2,925,000
Josh AllenFifth Year Option$18,281,000$21,206,000$2,925,000
Lamar JacksonFifth Year Option$21,206,000$23,511,000$2,305,000

Patrick Mahomes should have one spot locked down. Deshaun Watson should be favored for another in spite of the Texans’ general 2020 struggles. Jackson, the MVP last season, could defend his Pro Bowl spot despite a third season that hasn’t met the lofty heights of his second. If he doesn’t, could Mayfield or Allen break into the group, given their teams’ overall success this season? Prime competition could come from Ryan Tannehill, Mahomes’s replacement in the last Pro Bowl, and the reputation of Ben Roethlisberger can’t be counted out given the Steelers’ successful season, despite some struggles in his most recent games.

AFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
AJ BrownFourth Year Salary$1,265,778$3,593,100$2,327,322
DJ CharkFourth Year Salary$2,240,000$3,422,000$1,182,000

Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill should be locks for half of the spots here, but things open up a bit after them, particularly after Will Fuller’s suspension. Brown in particular should have a good chance given the Titans’ general success. Chark had a 1,000 yard season last year, but reduced numbers from a mightily struggling Jaguars team may shut off his last chance of getting a higher PPE raise.

NFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
DJ MooreFifth Year Option$18,281,000$21,206,000$2,925,000
Calvin RidleyFifth Year Option$18,281,000$21,206,000$2,925,000
DK MetcalfFourth Year Salary$2,602,000$3,593,100$991,000
Terry McLaurinFourth Year Salary$2,602,000$3,593,100$991,000
Justin JeffersonFifth Year OptionTBDTBDTBD

Competition here is expected to be very fierce. DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams have the history that will keep their odds high, but it is Metcalf that is leading the league in receiving yards, while Jefferson, Ridley and McLaurin just joined the 1,000 yard club, with Moore not too far behind in the 900s. This will be the last chance for Moore and Ridley to take advantage of a Pro Bowl pay raise, as they are part of the 2018 rookie class, but Metcalf and McLaurin will have another shot as 2019 members, and Jefferson, of course, is a rookie.

AFC Offensive Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Braden SmithFourth Year Salary$2,490,000$3,422,000$932,000
Orlando Brown, Jr.Fourth Year Salary$2,490,000$3,422,000$932,000

Injuries to Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Lewan, and Mitchell Schwartz have left spots here very open. Of the two, Brown will have the likely edge due to his previous appointment as an alternate in last year’s Pro Bowl, although peers like Anthony Castonzo are pounding the table for Smith. Other newcomers that could provide competition are Garett Bolles (recently signed to an extension with the Broncos) and Dion Dawkins, while past Pro Bowlers like Laremy Tunsil, Alejandro Villanueva, and Eric Fisher also loom large.

NFC Offensive Guard

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Alex CappaFourth Year Salary$2,240,000$3,422,000$1,182,000

Cappa is a name that may not be as familiar as others mentioned here, but as of December 3rd he has found his way to the top of the fan voting at this spot, so he’s worth a mention considering that this is his last chance to seal the top PPE raise.

NFC Center

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Erik McCoyFourth Year Salary$2,602,000$3,593,100$991,000

Travis Frederick’s retirement leaves one of the two center spots here wide open. Could McCoy, playing on a good Saints team, be the benefactor and hold off stalwarts like Alex Mack and Jason Kelce?

NFC Defensive Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Vita VeaFifth Year Option$7,080,000$11,121,000$4,041,000
Da’Ron PayneFifth Year Option$8,282,000$11,121,000$2,839,000

Aaron Donald will of course be a lock for one of the three spots here. Fletcher Cox is another regular here but he is on a struggling Eagles team this season. Vea and Payne are both part of fierce defensive fronts in Tampa Bay and Washington, and as 2018 first rounders this is their final shot of getting their fifth year options pushed up to the transition tag level.

AFC Outside Linebacker (Edge Rusher)

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Bradley ChubbFifth Year Option$10,074,000$13,071,000$2,997,000

Chubb, as the fifth overall pick by the Broncos in the 2018 NFL Draft, could take advantage of the fact that most of the leading AFC edge rushers (Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa) are considered defensive ends. Among those that are considered linebackers, TJ Watt of course will be the leading candidate. But with Watt’s teammate Bud Dupree having the great misfortune of tearing his ACL while on the franchise tag, it is now Chubb who is at least tied for the next spot behind Watt in sacks and tackles for loss. If Chubb does get his first Pro Bowl, he would replace another injured teammate in Von Miller, who of course has been a regular here for many seasons.

AFC Inside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Tremaine EdmundsFifth Year Option$10,074,000$13,071,000$2,997,000

Edmunds made his way to participating in the last Pro Bowl as an alternate. With the player he replaced, Dont’a Hightower, opting out of the season, Edmunds could be a natural replacement for Hightower again, but this time on the original ballot.

NFC Inside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Roquan SmithFifth Year Option$10,074,000$13,071,000$2,997,000
Fred WarnerFourth Year Salary$2,490,000$3,422,000$932,000

Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly have long dominated the two available spots here, but now with Kuechly retired there is room for younger blood. Could this include Smith or Warner, who have been regarded well but have yet to make the break up to the Pro Bowl tier?

AFC Safety

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Minkah FitzpatrickFifth Year Option$9,312,000$10,916,000$1,604,000

Fitzpatrick earned his first Pro Bowl bid last season that already boosted his fifth year option considerably, and he should be a favorite to repeat the honor to boost that salary further up.

AFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Denzel WardFifth Year Option$12,869,000$14,878,000$1,604,000

Like Fitzpatrick, Ward will be trying to add a second Pro Bowl in his first three seasons to secure this raise. Unlike Fitzpatrick, Ward should have stiffer competition from his peers for these spots, as the defending honorees from last season have all been active and playing typical to their performance.

NFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Jaire AlexanderFifth Year Option$9,893,000$12,869,000$2,976,000
Carlton DavisFourth Year Salary$2,490,000$3,422,000$932,000

Tough competition for these spots could make it difficult to Alexander to get this raise in his last chance before the fifth year option values are determined. Among that competition is Davis, who like Cappa has been bolstered by leading the fan vote.

2021 Compensatory Draft Picks Update (11/17/2020)

There have been several developments regarding how compensatory picks are now being awarded since OTC’s last written update on its projection of the 2021 slate of comp picks. Let’s get right to it.

TeamRoundCompensated Free AgentAPY
NE3Tom Brady$25,000,000
LAC3Philip Rivers$25,000,000
NO3Teddy Bridgewater$21,000,000
DAL3Byron Jones$16,500,000
TEN3Jack Conklin$14,000,000
LAR3Dante Fowler Jr.$15,000,000
NE4Kyle Van Noy$12,750,000
DAL4Robert Quinn$14,000,000
PIT4Javon Hargrave$13,000,000
GB4Blake Martinez$10,250,000
LAR4Cory Littleton$11,750,000
MIN4Trae Waynes$14,000,000
NE4Jamie Collins$10,000,000
KC4Kendall Fuller$10,000,000
ATL5Vic Beasley$9,500,000
GB5Bryan Bulaga$10,000,000
DAL5Randall Cobb$9,000,000
KC5Emmanuel Ogbah$7,500,000
SF5Emmanuel Sanders$8,000,000
BAL5Michael Pierce$9,000,000
ATL5De’Vondre Campbell$6,000,000
CAR5Vernon Butler$7,625,000
TB6Breshad Perriman$6,500,000
ATL6Wes Schweitzer$4,500,000
GB6Kyler Fackrell$4,600,000
CHI6Nicholas Williams$5,000,000
PHI6Jordan Howard$4,875,000
MIN6Mackensie Alexander$4,000,000
BAL6Seth Roberts$3,750,000
CHI6Chase Daniel$4,350,000
PIT6B.J. Finney$4,000,000
PHI6Ronald Darby$3,000,000
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
CHI6Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix$3,750,000
PIT6Tyler Matakevich$3,575,000
CHI6Kevin Pierre-Louis$3,000,000
TB6Beau Allen$3,500,000
PHI7Kamu Grugier-Hill$3,000,000
ATL7Adrian Clayborn$2,875,000
DAL7Xavier Su’a-Filo$3,000,000
CAR7Daryl Williams$2,250,000
MIN7Andrew Sendejo$2,250,000
IND7Devin Funchess$2,500,000
IND7Joe Haeg$2,300,000
MIN7Jayron Kearse$2,000,000
NE7Nate Ebner$2,000,000
BAL7Patrick Onwuasor$2,000,000

As you can see, the list on the right (or above on mobile) is very long. As it stands right now, 2021 is projected to shatter the record for most eligible compensatory picks at 46. Since the CBA strictly limits the number of awarded compensatory picks to 32, that means that 14 of these eligible picks would be discarded. That includes all 7th rounders, and even a few 6th rounders. Some of this is due to chance that always exists in the formula, but a bit of this is also due to some additional revelations regarding the formula that will be described below.

The Week 10 rule is no more

Week 10 of the 2020 season is in the books. In the past, what this would have meant for compensatory picks is that teams could no longer cut compensatory free agents (CFAs) on their team and be relieved from those contracts counting against them in the formula.

However, in yet another likely effort by the NFL Management Council to cut down on teams circumventing the formula, the Week 10 rule appears to be no more. Back in August, OTC reported that this was the case, and this has since been confirmed by our good friend Brian McFarland of Russell Street Report.

The best way to understand the veracity of these reports is to take Appendix V of the 2020 CBA, which is the binding authority on the compensatory formula, very literally for what it says–and also for what it does not say. There is no paragraph that says that players can get relief for terminating the contracts of CFAs, nor is “Week 10” or “ten weeks” ever mentioned. Therefore, this is more strong evidence that this rule has been abolished.

And it doesn’t take much thought as to why this rule was abolished. The 2019 regular season saw a large number of compensatory free agents that were cut for comp pick purposes. That likely was not a positive experience for any of these players, even if some of them found better opportunities elsewhere. The abolition of this rule also makes managing cancellation charts easier for teams and for OTC’s projection.

For the 2021 projection, the relevant CFAs that have been cut are:

  • Gerald McCoy (left Carolina, signed with Dallas)
  • Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (left Chicago, signed with Dallas)
  • Vic Beasley (left Tennessee, signed with Atlanta)
  • Seth Roberts (left Baltimore, signed with Carolina)
  • Jordan Howard (left Philadelphia, signed with Miami)

Perhaps the only question that might remain is if the compensatory formula will still count the entire contract, or only what was earned. For example, McCoy signed a contract for $6.1 million in APY, but only earned $3 million over 1 year. If the formula counted him at $3 million APY, that would help the Cowboys’ comp picks. However, since Appendix V makes no such mention, the projection is assuming that the whole contract will count.

CFAs that are COVID-19 opt outs will still be eligible to award compensatory picks.

Among all the chaos that this pandemic created, it also resulted in collective bargaining that allowed players to opt out of the season by tolling their contract a year. Two compensatory free agents applied for this opt out: Michael Pierce (left Baltimore, signed with Minnesota) and Devin Funchess (left Indianapolis, signed with Green Bay). The best assumption to have made was that these players would still qualify as CFAs, but that they would earn no snap count bonus. The most important part of this, qualification, has indeed been confirmed by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Another important part of this question applies not just to COVID-19 opt outs that are CFAs, but to the league as whole, which brings us to the next important change in the projection:

The number of “all players on rosters” could be higher than normal this season

What remains the most difficult part of projecting compensatory picks is determining the number, as defined by Appendix V, of “all players on rosters at the conclusion of a regular season”. This number is important, because this is the denominator of how percentile cutoffs are determined, which in turn determine what round, if any, a CFA’s contract is valued as.

In the past, the best way to guess this number is to only exclude players that are on practice squads, but include all others–including players on reserve lists, such as Injured Reserve. However, the new COVID-19 rules have also resulted in more players on reserve lists. This is not only the 69 players that opted out, as described above, but also potentially a number of additional players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for active players that have either tested positive or may be at risk to test positive.

If these players are included, that should increase this leaguewide roster count denominator. Previously, the formula was using a rough estimate of previous estimations, which came out to 1,935. However, the formula will now be using a real time count of this number that is pulled from OTC’s database. At the time of publication, that number is 2,050. The end result is that some CFAs may now be valued at a higher round, and some other CFAs that were not projected to qualify now do.

As a result, here are the following changes to watch for in OTC’s 2021 comp pick projections:

  • New England: There is a chance that they could earn a net loss of four CFAs. However, this will depend on whether or not Nate Ebner’s contract qualifies. That contract is right on the bubble. Patriots fans should root for Ebner, a career special teams player, to earn some more snaps on defense for the Giants.

    However, even if Ebner’s contract qualifies, whether the Patriots get a fourth comp pick will come down to the valuation of Beau Allen’s contract. Currently, it’s on the bubble of the 6th/7th round cutoff. If it’s valued as a 7th, which is possible given that Allen is missing the entire season, the Patriots would add a 6th rounder for the departure of Danny Shelton. But if it’s a 6th, the potential fourth comp pick would be a 7th for Ebner that wouldn’t make the 32 pick limit.
  • Baltimore: Their net loss of CFAs could raise to two or even three. The contracts of both Josh Bynes and Patrick Onwuasor are on the bubble of qualifying. If at least one of them do, the Ravens could potentially add a 6th rounder for the departure of Seth Roberts (despite being cut by the Panthers as described above). Like Patriots fans, Ravens fans should root for Bynes to continue play frequently for the Bengals, and for Onwuasor to get off IR and play for the Jets.

    However, like the Patriots, this would also depend on whether Derek Wolfe’s contract is valued as a 6th or 7th rounder, a contract is right on the bubble of that cutoff. If it’s a 6th, then the contracts of Wolfe and Roberts will cancel each other out, and like with the Patriots and Ebner, 7th rounders for the contracts of Bynes or Onwuasor will not make the 32 pick limit. The Ravens will decide whether additional playtime for Wolfe, a player who’s contribution has always been valued since entering the league with the Broncos, is worth losing a potential 6th round comp pick.
  • Pittsburgh: Tyler Matakevich, primarily a special teamer with the Bills, is also on the bubble of that 6th/7th round cutoff. If his contract is valued as a 6th, there’s a chance the Steelers could add an addition 6th rounder for his departure, but it may be difficult for it to make the 32 pick limit.
  • Kansas City: Due to injury early in the season, there was some question as to whether Kendall Fuller’s contract would be valued at the 4th or 5th round. With the cutoffs getting more generous, as long as Fuller stays healthy, the Chiefs should feel more comfortable that they’ll indeed get a 4th rounder for his departure to DC.
  • Philadelphia: Ronald Darby’s contract is now more likely to be valued as a 6th rounder, which would possibly give the Eagles a 6th round comp pick for his departure, so long as it can make the 32 pick limit.
  • Atlanta: De’Vondre Campbell’s contract may now be valued a 5th rounder instead of a 6th, those boosting a comp pick the Falcons are projected to get from a 6th to a 5th.
  • Carolina: It is now more likely that Vernon Butler’s contract will be valued as a 5th rounder than as a 6th. If that’s the case, then the Panthers would get a 5th for his departure instead of a 6th for a different player’s departure.
  • Tampa Bay: The question with Beau Allen’s contract as described above under the Patriots also affects his former team in the Bucs. If the contract is valued as a 6th rounder, the Bucs will get a 6th for that contract. If not, they’d only be eligible for a possible 7th rounder for the departure of Jameis Winston (assuming his odd consideration qualifies him at all) that won’t make the 32 pick limit, even if Winston plays as much as the rest of the regular season in relief of Drew Brees in New Orleans.

How will compensatory picks for the hiring of minority head coaches and general managers be handled?

Finally, the NFL finally succeeded in using the compensatory pick system to encourage the advancement of minorities in its highest ranks. The league approved a resolution that will award two or three 3rd round comp picks, one each per draft, to teams that see a coach or executive depart due to being hired as a head coach or general manager elsewhere.

While the resolution itself is straightforward, the application to the compensatory formula is not. The resolution states that “[a]ny compensatory Draft picks awarded pursuant to this Policy will be at the end of the third round following all compensatory Draft picks awarded to clubs pursuant to Appendix V of the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement”.

However, Art. 6, §2(a)(i) of the CBA is very clear that the number of comp picks are to be “a maximum number of additional Compensatory Draft Selections equal to the number of Clubs then in the League”, which is 32. To confirm how strict this is, when there was a rare exception to this in 2016 when a 33rd pick was authorized due to clarification over how the contract of transition tagged Charles Clay should be handled, that authorization required approval from the NFLPA.

If the intention of the league is to award these minority hire compensatory picks separate from what is laid out in Appendix V, and potentially go beyond 32 comp picks in total, then I would presume that the NFLPA may want to give a similar approval here. Whether or not this is an issue the NFLPA wants to take up is up to them, but the reason why they might want to is straightforward: if there are more than 32 comp picks, that means that there are more incoming rookies that are denied the privilege of undrafted free agency.

Conversely, if the number of total comp picks remains fixed at 32, then that will force more regular comp picks to miss the 32 pick limit. That may be of concern for teams that were counting on a 6th or 7th round pick that won’t get it due to the addition of this new rule.

This is an answer that OTC will try to track down, and if any of our friends in the media are also able to get an answer, that would be greatly appreciated.

A Modest Proposal To Nudge Trade Deadline Activity

Fans and the media often crave for activity as the trade deadline approaches. They identify contenders and pretenders, and make reasonable hypotheses of where players from the latter should go to the former. Yet every season, they are regularly disappointed as to how little actually happens. Much of this has to do with the how the rules of the CBA and the financial constraints that it creates make trades less practical than it seems. However, it may be fair to say in some cases that a few teams are more reticent to throw in the towel on players that are unlikely to be part of their future than they should be.

Therefore, as a bit of a thought exercise I conceived a proposed new rule to the CBA that would allow a small group of players to be traded immediately after the deadline–even against the will of the team they’re currently on.

To be eligible to be one of those players, all of the following criteria must be attained:

  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 actually 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 3 at 4 PM ET), any team may submit 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 4 at 4 PM ET), the NFL notifies all teams and players in question who has been given a trade offer. If multiple offers are made for the same player, the offer with the higher draft compensation wins out, and ties will be broken by standard waiver order.
  3. For the next 48 hours (this year, ending on Friday, November 6 at 4 PM ET), the player decides whether or not to accept the trade 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 from the teams that could qualify for this new rule in 2020. Those teams, for the time being, are the Jets, Giants, Jaguars, Texans, Falcons, Vikings, and Bengals. The players on the Jets, Jaguars and Texans will be there no matter what, while the other teams will remain should they lose in Week 8.

Looking at this list, there are hardly any stars on there, as you’d expect, and the grand majority would be players that teams would be unlikely to be desired by other teams for even a 7th round pick. Still, there are a few notable names that might be able to help a team with injury/depth problems at certain positions.

Some positions that caught my eye were the following:

  • Defensive backs appear to stand out in quantity. This includes Brian Poole, Pierre Desir, and Bradley McDougald on the Jets, Logan Ryan on the Giants, Mackensie Alexander on the Bengals, Vernon Hargreaves on the Texans, and Darqueze Dennard on the Falcons.
  • Alex Mack, Dakota Dozier, and Cameron Fleming are a trio of offensive linemen with high snap counts that could provide a patch for teams hurting there.
  • Teams looking for edge rush help could look at Kyler Fackrell, Brennan Scarlett, or Jordan Jenkins.
  • At wide receiver, the Jets have a pair in Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan, while Chris Conley shows up on this list from the Jaguars, as well as Kenny Stills from the Texans.
  • Finally, would anyone take a flyer on Todd Gurley at running back?

This is an idea that almost certainly will never happen, as teams will be very loath to give up this kind of roster control. But if nothing else, it’s at least a way to identify players whose time on a struggling team may be coming to an end, regardless of whether that’s now or at the end of the regular season.

NameTeamPos.AgeSnapsRemaining Salary
Alex MackATLC35100.0%$4,705,882
Kenny StillsHOUWR2832.5%$4,102,941
D.J. HaydenJAXCB3043.5%$3,529,412
Shawn WilliamsCINS299.6%$2,455,331
Bradley McDougaldNYJS3093.6%$2,398,897
Todd GurleyATLRB2654.7%$2,058,824
Breshad PerrimanNYJWR2734.6%$2,045,956
Avery WilliamsonNYJLB2855.7%$2,039,522
Abry JonesJAXIDL2939.1%$2,000,000
Chris ConleyJAXWR2841.0%$1,588,548
Kyler FackrellNYGEDGE2973.7%$1,529,412
Kevin HuberCINP3530.9%$1,470,588
Mackensie AlexanderCINCB2754.4%$1,464,154
Spencer PulleyNYGC270.0%$1,180,882
Matt SchaubATLQB390.0%$1,176,471
A.J. McCarronHOUQB300.0%$1,176,471
Graham GanoNYGK3332.6%$1,170,037
Cameron FlemingNYGRT2896.3%$1,163,603
Jordan JenkinsNYJEDGE2647.9%$1,163,603
Brian PooleNYJCB2882.4%$1,163,603
Brennan ScarlettHOUEDGE2752.6%$1,083,640
Pierre DesirNYJCB3080.9%$1,016,544
Alex EricksonCINWR286.7%$997,426
Dion LewisNYGRB3034.5%$900,184
Logan RyanNYGCB2992.5%$898,897
Randy BullockCINK3135.4%$897,059
Christian CovingtonCINDE2752.0%$875,919
Joe FlaccoNYJQB3535.8%$870,772
Mike DanielsCINDT3115.6%$842,647
Tyler ShatleyJAXC2942.7%$808,824
Austin JohnsonNYGIDL3119.9%$801,471
Matthias FarleyNYJS280.7%$749,044
LeShaun SimsCINCB2738.8%$731,434
Josh BynesCINLB3170.0%$730,147
Kamalei CorreaJAXEDGE2619.5%$728,860
Chris ThompsonJAXRB3034.9%$673,897
James O’ShaughnessyJAXTE2849.7%$647,794
Mike GlennonJAXQB310.0%$645,772
Devonta FreemanNYGRB2831.7%$629,412
Vernon HargreavesHOUCB2577.7%$625,919
Jabaal SheardNYGEDGE313.7%$617,647
Margus HuntCINDT3327.3%$617,647
Jon WeeksHOULS3428.7%$617,647
Luke StockerATLTE3239.6%$617,647
LaRoy ReynoldsATLLB304.9%$617,647
Frank GoreNYJRB3740.3%$617,647
Chris HoganNYJWR3268.2%$617,647
Clark HarrisCINLS3630.9%$617,647
Blidi Wreh-WilsonATLCB3127.3%$617,647
Nate EbnerNYGS327.0%$617,647
Colt McCoyNYGQB340.0%$617,647
Aaron LynchJAXEDGE270.0%$591,544
Darqueze DennardATLCB2947.6%$591,544
Patrick OnwuasorNYJLB280.0%$588,235
Neville HewittNYJLB2799.3%$588,235
Steven MeansATLEDGE3147.6%$535,294
Kyle EmanuelHOULB290.0%$535,294
Caraun ReidJAXDT297.1%$535,294
Xavier WilliamsCINDT2811.2%$535,294
Josh AndrewsNYJRG2910.4%$535,294
Brett JonesMINC290.0%$535,294
George IlokaMINS3010.6%$535,294
Brent QvaleHOURT290.0%$535,294
Adam GotsisJAXEDGE2845.9%$535,294
Eric TomlinsonNYGTE280.5%$535,294
C.J. ProsiseHOURB261.4%$535,294
John WetzelATLRT290.7%$535,294
Bruce MillerJAXFB3311.6%$535,294
Todd DavisMINLB2811.8%$535,294
Sharrod NeasmanATLS2910.7%$535,294
Daniel BrownNYJTE280.0%$535,294
Tyrell AdamsHOULB2834.0%$535,294
Dakota DozierMINLG29100.0%$535,294
Phillip GainesHOUCB2916.3%$535,294
Rashod HillMINRT281.1%$535,294
Ameer AbdullahMINRB275.3%$535,294
Casey KreiterNYGLS3028.7%$535,294
Sean MannionMINQB280.0%$535,294
Michael ThomasHOUS3112.6%$535,294
Brandon WilliamsNYGCB280.0%$485,294
Mike ThomasCINWR2632.9%$485,294
Tajae SharpeMINWR264.2%$485,294
Bryce HagerNYJLB280.0%$130,311
David FalesNYJQB300.0%$120,000
Greg ManczHOUC280.0%$120,000
Ross TravisNYJTE270.0%$120,000
Carson TinkerNYGLS310.0%$120,000
Laquon TreadwellATLWR250.0%$120,000
Josh MauroJAXEDGE290.0%$120,000
Alfred MorrisNYGRB320.0%$120,000
Corey LiugetHOUDE300.0%$120,000
Devin SmithHOUWR270.0%$120,000

Evaluation Of The 2016 Rookie Classes

The Collective Bargaining Agreement is structured in such a way that teams have inexpensive and exclusive control over players during their first four accrued seasons, before they can earn unrestricted free agency. Now that most of the players on 2016 rookie classes have done so, let’s take a look how those incoming players as a whole did, and look at classes that contributed the most and least on the basis of snap counts, and then see how many of those players got vested veteran contracts during this offseason.

If you wish to see all rookie classes, visit OTC’s Rookie Class Evalaution page here, and learn about the methodology behind this project here.

(more…)

Players On Track To Be Helped By the New PPE Rules

As part of the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement, an expansion of the Proven Performance Escalator (PPE) was agreed upon. Article 7, Section 4 of the CBA has the full details, while OTC’s PPE projection page has now been updated to account for this expansion. Brad also took you down an alternate history of the past that shows what the expanded PPE would have yielded to players if it were a part of the 2011 CBA.

The table in this article will go into the future, and show which players are in line to have their fourth year salaries improved due to the PPE expansion.

A total of 57 players are currently helped by the PPE extension. A slight majority of those (31) are 2nd round picks would have received no PPE under the 2011 CBA. The other 26 are 3rd to 7th rounders who have effectively have their PPE boosted from Level One to Level Two.

Note that all 2nd rounders listed are on track to earn the Level Two PPE, due to the 55% snap threshold of that level being lower than the Level One threshold of 60%. Should any of these players’ snap counts fall in their remaining qualifying seasons, their three year average will need to come above 60% to even get a Level One PPE, a potentially narrow window.

Four players–Mark Andrews, Nick Chubb, Darius Leonard, and Mecole Hardman–are ensured a Level Three PPE due to their original ballot selection to a Pro Bowl. This is particularly important for Chubb (a running back) and Hardman (who made the Pro Bowl as a returner) thus far, as they otherwise would not qualify for any PPE level. Andrews would also fall to Level One without the Pro Bowl.

Broken down by team, the Colts lead the way with the most players with improved PPE projection with four. That’s led by a trio of 2nd round picks that includes Leonard. Four teams–the Partiots, Jets, Chargers, Eagles–have no player that had its projected PPE upgraded as a part of the 2020 CBA. Of those four, the Patriots stand out as having no player eligible for the PPE at all from the 2018 and 2019 draft classes.

To learn about all players eligible for the PPE in addition to those that got an upgrade in the 2020 CBA, please visit OTC’s updated PPE projections page.

NameTeamRound2011 CBA PPEPPE Level2018 Snaps2019 Snaps2020 SnapsSnap Average
Jerome BakerDolphins3YesTwo 62.1% (2) 96.8% (2) 0.0% 79.5% (1)
Orlando BrownRavens3YesTwo 63.9% (2) 100.0% (2) 0.0% 82.0% (1)
Mark AndrewsRavens3YesThree 34.8% 41.5% (3) 0.0% 38.2% (1)
Jessie Bates IIIBengals2NoTwo 98.7% (2) 99.0% (2) 0.0% 98.9% (1)
Nick ChubbBrowns2NoThree 36.2% 68.3% (3) 0.0% 52.3%
Justin ReidTexans3YesTwo 84.8% (2) 85.2% (2) 0.0% 85.0% (1)
Darius LeonardColts2NoThree 91.1% (2) 79.9% (3) 0.0% 85.5% (1)
Braden SmithColts2NoTwo 75.1% (2) 99.9% (2) 0.0% 87.5% (1)
Harold LandryTitans2NoTwo 56.7% (2) 85.4% (2) 0.0% 71.1% (1)
Courtland SuttonBroncos2NoTwo 76.3% (2) 92.0% (2) 0.0% 84.2% (1)
Connor WilliamsCowboys2NoTwo 64.0% (2) 64.9% (2) 0.0% 64.5% (1)
Michael GallupCowboys3YesTwo 68.4% (2) 75.6% (2) 0.0% 72.0% (1)
Will HernandezGiants2NoTwo 99.6% (2) 100.0% (2) 0.0% 99.8% (1)
James DanielsBears2NoTwo 70.9% (2) 100.0% (2) 0.0% 85.5% (1)
Brian O’NeillVikings2NoTwo 76.0% (2) 94.9% (2) 0.0% 85.5% (1)
Donte JacksonPanthers2NoTwo 89.5% (2) 66.1% (2) 0.0% 77.8% (1)
Carlton DavisBucs2NoTwo 68.5% (2) 85.1% (2) 0.0% 76.8% (1)
Jordan WhiteheadBucs4YesTwo 63.0% (2) 81.7% (2) 0.0% 72.4% (1)
Christian KirkCardinals2NoTwo 57.5% (2) 75.4% (2) 0.0% 66.5% (1)
Fred Warner49ers3YesTwo 98.8% (2) 96.1% (2) 0.0% 97.5% (1)
Tre FlowersSeahawks5YesTwo 91.1% (2) 91.2% (2) 0.0% 91.2% (1)
Cody FordBills2NoTwo 69.2% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 69.2% (1)
Dawson KnoxBills3YesTwo 60.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 60.0% (1)
Michael DeiterDolphins3YesTwo 92.5% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 92.5% (1)
Michael JordanBengals4YesTwo 58.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 58.6% (1)
Greedy WilliamsBrowns2NoTwo 64.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 64.0% (1)
Mack WilsonBrowns5YesTwo 88.2% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 88.2% (1)
Diontae JohnsonSteelers3YesTwo 65.5% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 65.5% (1)
Max ScharpingTexans2NoTwo 87.9% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 87.9% (1)
Rock Ya-SinColts2NoTwo 82.4% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 82.4% (1)
Khari WillisColts4YesTwo 60.2% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 60.2% (1)
Jawaan TaylorJaguars2NoTwo 100.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 100.0% (1)
Gardner MinshewJaguars6YesTwo 83.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 83.0% (1)
A.J. BrownTitans2NoTwo 68.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 68.3% (1)
Nate DavisTitans3YesTwo 73.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 73.1% (1)
Dalton RisnerBroncos2NoTwo 96.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 96.3% (1)
Mecole HardmanChiefs2NoThree 45.2% (3) 0.0% 0.0% 45.2%
Juan ThornhillChiefs2NoTwo 90.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 90.3% (1)
Trayvon MullenRaiders2NoTwo 64.7% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 64.7% (1)
Maxx CrosbyRaiders4YesTwo 72.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 72.1% (1)
Darius SlaytonGiants5YesTwo 65.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 65.6% (1)
Terry McLaurinRedskins3YesTwo 81.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 81.6% (1)
Cole HolcombRedskins5YesTwo 63.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 63.3% (1)
David MontgomeryBears3YesTwo 57.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 57.3% (1)
Will HarrisLions3YesTwo 58.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 58.3% (1)
Elgton JenkinsPackers2NoTwo 89.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 89.1% (1)
Irv Smith Jr.Vikings2NoTwo 59.8% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 59.8%
Kendall SheffieldFalcons4YesTwo 67.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 67.0% (1)
Dennis DaleyPanthers6YesTwo 61.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 61.1% (1)
Erik McCoySaints2NoTwo 99.4% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 99.4% (1)
Sean Murphy-BuntingBucs2NoTwo 60.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 60.1% (1)
Byron MurphyCardinals2NoTwo 97.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 97.6% (1)
Taylor RappRams2NoTwo 74.3% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 74.3% (1)
David EdwardsRams5YesTwo 61.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 61.6% (1)
Deebo Samuel49ers2NoTwo 67.0% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 67.0% (1)
Dre Greenlaw49ers5YesTwo 70.1% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 70.1% (1)
D.K. MetcalfSeahawks2NoTwo 83.6% (2) 0.0% 0.0% 83.6% (1)