Nick Korte


Recent Posts by Nick

Can Players Gain Financially If They Stay In College?

After Alabama’s spring game, Nick Saban said this, via ESPN:

Now, we have guys that have no draft grades, seventh-round grades, free-agent grades, fifth-round grades that are going out of the draft. And the person that loses in that is the player. If you’re a third-round draft pick, and we had one here last year — I’m not going to say any names — goes and starts for his team, so he’s making third-round money, which is not that great. He’d be the first guy taken at his position this year, probably, and make $15-18 million more.

So, the agent makes out, the club makes out, and now they’ve got a guy that’s going to play for that kind of money for three more years, all right? And everybody out there’s saying, “Well, get to your next contract.” Well, there’s obviously 50 percent of these guys never getting to a next contract. And that doesn’t mean all the rest of them got to one, either.

Is Saban correct? The short, boring answer is that there are far too many variables, of which we’ll return to in a moment, to make this statement with any kind of high confidence. But let’s presume that Saban’s draft projection as applied to this case holds up. What’s a reasonable financial projection to make to try to verify this claim? (more…)

Are Compensatory Picks Slowing Down Free Agency?

There’s been plenty of talk in recent years on how the interest on compensatory picks has risen in recent years. One possible negative side effect of such a rise in interest may be that mid to low level unrestricted free agents (UFAs) are having trouble signing with a new team due to fears that they will become compensatory free agents (CFAs) that could cost teams a comp pick for signing them.

Writing for CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora gave a good breakdown on the plight that current UFAs find themselves in:

“All anyone wants to offer now is a minimum-salary benefit deal,” said an agent representing one of the more prominent veterans still on the market. “It’s the same thing from every team – we don’t want to pay more now, and lose a comp pick.”

Another agent said: “The guy who is getting squeezed is the second-tier veteran player. The teams know how cheap the draft picks are, and they can use the comp pick formula for leverage, too, and they know it’s a gamble for the player to wait until after the draft when they don’t count against the formula, because that need might not still be there.”

A third agent said: “Comp picks have become a much bigger factor in free agency. Totally. I hear it much more now than ever before.”

Since I’ve been tracking compensatory picks in real time for the past five offseasons, I thought it would be instructive to look back at a few metrics to see if, and how, the described trend holds up: (more…)

2020 Compensatory Picks Potential

With the deadline for placing the franchise or transition tag on players now in the past, we can take a closer look as to how teams could approach free agency with respect to gaining potential for compensatory picks a year from now. A few of the factors that come into judging potential for each team are as follows:

  • The quantity of unrestricted free agents eligible for the compensatory formula. Teams with more pending UFAs will have more opportunities for players to count in their comp pick formula on the positive side of compensatory free agents (CFAs) lost. Teams that lose a high quantity of CFAs may also be able to sign low level CFAs of their own without risking the cancellation of higher valued CFAs. You can take a look at all UFAs by going to OTC’s main free agency page, and filter the list by UFA.
  • The quality of unrestricted free agents eligible for the compensatory formula. Teams that have a low number of pending UFAs may still have one or two players that are expected to garner a high level contract elsewhere. In this case, these teams may try to eschew signing CFAs to ensure that they can get a high comp pick for the high level players in question.
  • Salary cap space. Teams with a low amount of cap space may naturally get some comp picks simply because they’re unable to spend much in free agency. Teams with the most cap space, even if they have a high quantity or quality of CFAs lost, may have no choice to cancel them out in an effort to improve their roster. As always, you can find OTC’s real time estimates of each team’s cap space here.

Below is a breakdown of each team’s 2020 compensatory pick potential:

Bills

Pending UFAs: 7

Other than the starting right side of their offensive line in Jordan Mills and John Miller, the Bills have few pending UFAs of note. Having a very high amount of cap space to build around Josh Allen on a rookie quarterback contract should also lead Buffalo to be active in unrestricted free agency. Potential: Very Low

Dolphins

Pending UFAs: 16

The only notable young name on the Dolphins’ list is Ja’Wuan James, whose five year rookie deal is expiring. Other than that, the Dolphins only really have long time veterans like Cameron Wake, William Hayes, and Frank Gore that might continue their careers beyond Miami. Don’t look for a lot of action here unless the Dolphins make a concerted effort to avoid free agency. Potential: Low

Patriots

Pending UFAs: 17

Trey Flowers is the leading UFA for New England after he was not tagged. And beyond Flowers, the Patriots have a fair number of players that could attract attention from other teams. They include Trent Brown, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson on offense, Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown and Eric Rowe on defense, and Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen on special teams. How high of compensatory picks those players could generate could be up for debate, but the sheer quantity should secure New England’s regular appearance on comp pick lists. Potential: Very High

Jets

Pending UFAs: 26

On one hand, the Jets have a very high quantity of pending UFAs. But on the other hand, few of them really stand out in quality. Perhaps players among Jermaine Kearse, James Carpenter, Steve McLendon, Morris Claiborne, or Buster Skrine could get decent deals elsewhere. But much like the Bills, the Jets have high cap space and Sam Darnold on a rookie quarterback contract, and thus the time to pounce on unrestricted free agents may be now. Potential: Low

Ravens

Pending UFAs: 10

This will be Eric DeCosta’s first offseason at the helm of the Ravens, taking over for well know comp pick collector Ozzie Newsome. Will he continue this tradition in Baltimore? Time will tell, but if DeCosta wants to do so, he’ll have to be restrained in unrestricted free agency. On the one hand, the Ravens’ quality of pending UFAs is high. CJ Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, and Brent Urban have all been high performing starters on defense, along with the age defying Terrell Suggs. On offense, Buck Allen could see some attention too. But on the other hand, with only 10 pending UFAs total, the quantity is low. Several good arguments can be made on how the Ravens should proceed, but it shouldn’t surprise to see the Ravens with some form of comp picks as usual.  Potential: High

Bengals

Pending UFAs: 13

It’s setting up to be another typical offseason for the Bengals in this regard. They have a solid, even if not spectacular, number of players hitting the market. These include Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, CJ Uzomah, Bobby Hart, Vincent Rey, Michael Johnson, Preston Brown, and Darqueze Dennard. The Bengals may re-sign some of these players, but since they tend to stay restrained in acquiring external UFAs, they should once be again in good position to reap compensatory picks from those losses. Potential: High

Browns

Pending UFAs: 8

It looks to be yet another year where the Browns have few pending UFAs, and few high level ones among them. As a quarterback, Tyrod Taylor may be the only one that could sign a contract valued higher than a 7th round comp pick. Combine this with the similar situation the Bills and Jets are in with high cap space and Baker Mayfield on a rookie quarterback contract, and yet again the case is strong for the Browns to spend now. Potential: Very Low

Steelers

Pending UFAs: 14

This will finally be the year that Le’Veon Bell hits the open market. With the Steelers choosing not to trade him earlier, all that’s left now for possible compensation in return is a 3rd round comp pick. With 13 other players with expiring contracts, the Steelers are well positioned to ensure they get a comp pick for Bell even if they do acquire compensatory free agents of their own. Players to go along with Bell like Jesse James and Ramon Foster should help that cause. Potential: High

Texans

Pending UFAs: 13

With Jadeveon Clowney given the franchise tag, the Texans’ remaining players on expiring contracts include the likes of Kareem Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu, Kendall Lamm, and Alfred Blue. Depending as to how Houston plans to improve their team, they could see themselves end up with a comp pick or two, but they could also decide that a bigger foray into unrestricted free agency is wiser. Potential: Moderate

Colts

Pending UFAs: 12

None of the Colts’ pending UFAs are particularly intriguing this year around. Combine this with the highest cap space in the entire league, and this looks like a particularly good year for the Colts to be aggressive on signing free agents to further improve their team after a solid 2018 season. Potential: Very Low

Jaguars

Pending UFAs: 17

Jacksonville is very limited in cap space for 2019, and that might in turn limit their ability to be aggressive in free agency. That might lead to comp picks arising naturally, but at the same time the Jaguars haven’t proven themselves to care much about getting them, so we might not see anything change with regard to them.  Potential: Moderate

Titans

Pending UFAs: 10

The players that dominate the type of pending UFAs that Tennessee has hitting the market are over 30 contributors like Derrick Morgan or Bennie Logan. Kenny Vaccaro might be a younger name to watch and see if he can recover his contractual value. The Titans can’t be ruled out but they may have to refrain from participating too much in unrestricted free agency in order to get comp picks—and they’re another team that tends to not prioritize them. Potential: Low

Broncos

Pending UFAs: 14

Matt Paradis and Bradley Roby are two starters poised to get big pay days. Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett could also see plenty of attention with the Broncos set at edge rusher for a long time with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Other players like Brandon Marshall, Jeff Heuerman, Jared Veldheer, Domata Peko, and Zach Kerr could be on the table. The Broncos are not averse to signing CFAs of their own if they feel they will best improve the team, but given their history of including options in contracts to manipulate the compensatory pick system they should be expected to be mindful of garnering some comp picks if they feel it’s appropriate. Potential: High

Chiefs

Pending UFAs: 14

The Chiefs have many notable names hitting the market in 2019 even without Dee Ford being on that list due to being franchise tagged. Spencer Ware, Anthony Sherman, Chris Conley and Mitch Morse are starters on offense to watch, while on defense keep an eye on Allen Bailey, Steven Nelson, and Orlando Scandrick. The Chiefs are well positioned to pick who they want to keep and who they want to let walk, with compensatory picks waiting in the wings of who they do let walk. Potential: Very High

Chargers

Pending UFAs: 14

There are a few of the Chargers’ pending UFAs that could get attention from other teams in the league. Jason Verrett and Denzel Perryman are full of talent but have had problems staying healthy. Three defensive linemen in Darius Philon, Damion Square, and Brandon Mebane could still provide depth in rotation for teams. Kyle Emanuel could also be allowed to leave with Uchenna Nwosu wating in the wings behind him. There’s potential for the Chargers to lean either way as to how they want to treat free agency this year. Potential: Moderate

Raiders

Pending UFAs: 23

The Raiders lead the league in pending UFAs, but they only did so because Jon Gruden went on a spending spree last year of acquiring long tenured veterans on short deals. 13 of these 23 players will turn 30 or older in 2019. As such, there’s not much quality to be had among this group. Jared Cook might be the only name of particular note, unless someone like Johnathan Hankins can reclaim his contractual value. Given that Gruden wants to be aggressive in shaping the Raiders into his own mold, we may see some very high churn on this roster, and in the end, if the Raiders do end up losing more compensatory free agents than they sign, the corresponding picks resulting may only be 7th rounders or picks beyond the 32-pick limit. Potential: Low

Cowboys

Pending UFAs: 14
OTC Top 100 Free Agents:

DeMarcus Lawrence is the leader of this list again, but he may end off the list again with another tag. Beyond him, only Cole Beasley is really of note. The Cowboys are mindful of collecting compensatory picks, but unless they let Lawrence walk they not have much to work with this year. Potential: Low

Giants

Pending UFAs: 16

Landon Collins is the leading name among three starting defensive backs with expiring contracts—the other two being Curtis Riley and BW Webb. Beyond that, there’s not many pending UFAs of note, but there’s enough of them that Giants fans could reap some comp picks for those they let walk if they choose to take it easy in unrestricted free agency this time around.  Potential: Moderate

Eagles

Pending UFAs: 15

By declining a $20 million option on Nick Foles, he should enter the pool of UFAs eligible to become compensatory free agents, and any quarterback capable of getting a starter level deal will be securely in the 3rd round range of the formula. But it doesn’t end there: the Eagles also have Ronald Darby, Jordan Hicks, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Graham hitting the market—as well as Golden Tate, who they acquired in a trade with the possible intention of getting back draft capital via compensatory picks. If the Eagles don’t plan on keeping some of these players, look for them to pull out all options available to make sure they get comp picks for them, given that they’ve proven themselves devoted to that cause last offseason. Potential: Very High

Redskins

Pending UFAs: 17

The Redskins have a high quantity of free agents, but unlike last year the quality isn’t as sky high. Still, players like Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Jamison Crowder, and Preston Smith could get decent deals on the market that could be valued higher than 7th rounders in the compensatory formula. The real question, however, is whether Washington will revert back to their mode of prioritizing UFAs over comp picks, or whether last offseason signaled any lasting chance in philosophy. Potential: Moderate

Bears

Pending UFAs: 14

Historically, the Bears don’t care about compensatory picks. But this offseason could be an opportunity for them to break that indifference if they so choose. They’re on the low end of cap space, and a few players like Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan that could get some good deals on the market. The question will be whether the Bears feel that they should hold off on signing CFAs of their own–and typically, they don’t. Potential: Moderate

Lions

Pending UFAs: 14

Ziggy Ansah was not tagged again, meaning the Lions could be in good position to assure a high comp pick for him if they wish. But beyond Ansah, the Lions are likely looking at little more than chances for 7th round comp picks, and they may judge that striving for that isn’t worth it. Potential: Low

Packers

Pending UFAs: 11

Will it be a new day in Green Bay with Brian Gutekunst presiding over a team with a new head coach? There are some high reputation names hitting the market like Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, and Muhammad Wilkerson, and the likes of Bashaud Breeland or Jake Ryan getting decent deals can’t be ruled out either. The problem is that with a low number of pending UFAs, the Packers may have to hold back in unrestricted free agency to get comp picks for them. Ted Thompson clearly would have done this, but with a franchise in flux Gutekunst may find it more prudent to strike in free agency now instead of waiting for compensatory picks in 2020. Potential: Moderate

Vikings

Pending UFAs: 13

Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson, and Latavius Murray are all players that could get good deals elsewhere, and they may very well do so given Minnesota’s low cap space. There are a few other lower level pending UFAs like Tom Compton or Dan Bailey that could help pad their compensatory free agents lost if they have desires to improve their roster with signing CFAs of their own while still getting comp picks for their higher valued losses. Potential: High

Falcons

Pending UFAs: 14

Grady Jarrett was given the franchise tag, and by doing so that considerably dulled Atlanta’s comp pick potential, There’s a broad array of players serving various roles for the Falcons in 2018 that might fetch decent deals elsewhere, and the Falcons do have somewhat low cap space after tagging Jarrett. But if the Falcons do receive compensatory picks, they might not be more than 7th rounders. Potential: Low

Panthers

Pending UFAs: 16

The Panthers saw several notable potential CFA candidates be removed from consideration, due to either retirements (Julius Peppers, Ryan Kalil) or extension (Eric Reid). The majority of remaining players are turning 30 or older, which might dull their value in free agency. But among the minority of younger players include Daryl Williams and Devin Funchess. That’s something to work with, and given that the Panthers are on the lower end of cap space across the league, they could be positioned to collect comp picks if they so choose. Potential: Moderate

Saints

Pending UFAs: 16

The Saints made a trade for Teddy Bridgewater, a quarterback who could still end up getting a very good deal on the option market. They have a smattering of other notable names with expiring contracts, such as Mark Ingram, PJ Williams, Alex Okafor, and Dez Bryant. They also have very low cap space to work with. But there may be no team that puts a lower priority on compensatory picks than the Saints, so it may not amount to much in the end. Potential: Low

Buccaneers

Pending UFAs: 14

Kwon Alexander and Adam Humphries are two young players that could see their earnings rise as vested veterans. Among older players, one can never count out Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brent Grimes from continuing their careers. Combine this with low cap space available for the Bucs to work with, and they have a chance to see themselves on the 2020 compensatory pick list. Potential: Moderate

Cardinals

Pending UFAs: 18

The Cardinals don’t have any notable players that could be attractive in free agency. Combine this with high cap space, Josh Rosen on a rookie quarterback deal, and being one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, and the case for the Cardinals to be aggressive in unrestricted free agency to emerge from this abyss becomes strong. Potential: Very Low

Rams

Pending UFAs: 13

Lamarcus Joyner, Rodger Safford, Ndamukong Suh, and Dante Fowler are a quartet of players that could find considerable interest in free agency. A total of 13 pending UFAs total should also allow the Rams to sign a CFA or two of their own without canceling out their higher losses. With the team well positioned for the future, they could afford to choose again to reap the benefits of the compensatory pick system. Potential: High

49ers

Pending UFAs: 8

Even with their habit of setting up team options to manipulate the comp pick formula, San Francisco still has the fewest number of pending UFAs in the league, and none of them are of particular note. Combine that with a high amount of cap space and coming off a poor season, and it doesn’t make much sense for the 49ers to eschew free agency in the name of collection compensatory picks. Potential: Very Low

Seahawks

Pending UFAs: 13

Legion of Boom alumni Earl Thomas and KJ Wright have expiring contracts alongside Justin Coleman on defense, and JR Sweezy and DJ Fluker can’t be counted out for possible raises in pay either on the offensive line. That’s what’s on the table for the Seahawks to resume their compensatory pick collection, but they have also proven that they aren’t going to hold their roster building hostage just for that goal. Potential: Moderate

Evaluation Of The 2019 Compensatory Picks Projection

As expected, the 2019 compensatory draft picks were released today. As always, upon seeing the official release it’s proper to judge how my prediction did against it. This year went very well overall but there were still a few incorrect round cutoffs that need to be cleaned up. (more…)

Projecting The 2019 Compensatory Picks

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

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

UPDATE – January 17: Two minor corrections have been made to the APY of Justin Pugh and AJ McCarron. Please reference the two tweets linked on their names to learn more.

The Projection

TeamRoundCompensated Free AgentAPY
WAS3Kirk Cousins$28,000,000
NE3Nate Solder$15,400,000
LAR3Trumaine Johnson$14,500,000
CAR3Andrew Norwell$13,300,000
LAR3Sammy Watkins$15,830,000
NE3Malcolm Butler$12,170,000
BAL3Ryan Jensen$10,500,000
IND4Donte Moncrief$9,600,000
DAL4Anthony Hitchens$8,838,000
ATL4Dontari Poe$8,533,333
PHI4Trey Burton$7,925,000
NYG4Justin Pugh$8,580,000
WAS5Trent Murphy$7,400,000
ATL5Taylor Gabriel$6,500,000
NYG5Devon Kennard$5,650,000
NE5Danny Amendola$5,950,000
WAS6Ryan Grant$5,000,000
ARI6Kareem Martin$4,900,000
PHI6Beau Allen$5,000,000
MIN6Teddy Bridgewater$5,500,000
CIN6AJ McCarron$4,950,000
PHI6Patrick Robinson$4,925,000
CIN6Andre Smith$4,000,000
SF6Aaron Lynch$3,950,000
CIN6Chris Smith$3,900,000
KC6Bennie Logan$4,000,000
MIN7Tramaine Brock$3,000,000
ARI7Drew Stanton$3,056,250
ARI7Jaron Brown$2,750,000
NE7Cameron Fleming$2,500,000
LAR7Cody Davis$2,500,000
MIN7Shamar Stephen$2,100,000
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
WAS7Niles Paul$2,218,750
ARI7Blaine Gabbert$2,000,000
CIN7Jeremy Hill$1,331,250
LAR7Derek Carrier$1,275,000
IND7Frank Gore$1,105,000
SF7Leon Hall$1,060,000
SF7Logan Paulsen$1,005,000

Note that although there are 39 eligible compensatory picks listed in this projection, each year only exactly 32 picks are awarded. Therefore, the picks that rank 33rd and lower are not awarded, although the official release will typically acknowledge their presence, as this list does with strikethrough text.

Compensatory picks became tradeable beginning with the 2017 NFL Draft. This year, there has been one such trade thus far, with the Rams slated to send the higher of their two projected 3rd round comp pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Dante Fowler.

I expect the official release to come out on February 22, the Friday before the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Releasing the list then is sensible, as it allows executives at the Combine to discuss possible trades with full knowledge of their draft capital.

Cutoff Projections

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

At the end of the 2018 regular season, OTC’s database identified a total of 1924 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists, and had also played in at least 10 games during the 2018 regular season. As explained in the general methodology in the previous link, the cutoffs for each round and for qualifying as a compensatory free agent (CFA) have been established by this projection on certain percentile ranks of all players on the active roster and reserve lists at the end of the regular season, sorted by APY adjusted for snap counts in descending order and also represented by the player at the cutoff point. For 2018, these cutoffs are as follows:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)96Luke Kuechly
4th/5th90th (top 10%)192Aaron Colvin
5th/6th85th (top 15%)289Golden Tate
6th/7th75th (top 25%)481Leighton Vander Esch
7th/Qualify50th (top 50%)962Ryan Hewitt

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

  • Ryan Jensen (Baltimore): #71
  • Projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #96
  • Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis): #98
  • Anthony Hitchens (Dallas): #125

4th/5th

  • Justin Pugh (New York Giants): #180
  • Projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #192

5th/6th

  • Danny Amendola (New England): #283
  • Projected 5th/6th cutoff: #289

6th/7th

  • Bennie Logan (Kansas City): #451
  • AJ McCarron (Cincinnati): #467
  • Projected 6th/7th cutoff: #481
  • Tramaine Brock (Minnesota): #506

7th/Qualifying

  • Logan Paulsen (San Francisco): #917
  • Andre Roberts (Atlanta): #927
  • Geno Smith (New York Giants): #954
  • Projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #962
  • Bene Benwikere (Dallas): #971
  • Tom Compton (Minnesota): #975
  • Brock Osweiler (Denver): #990
  • Mike Wallace (Philadelphia): #996

Qualifying/Valuation Questions

Teams are becoming more mindful of the rule where a compensatory free agent will not qualify if they are not on their roster past Week 10 (this year, the Sunday games took place on November 11). This year, notable cuts right before this date were Sam Bradford (cut by Arizona November 3), Deonte Thompson (cut by Dallas November 9), and Patrick Omameh (cut by the New York Giants November 10). I have confidence that all three players will not qualify, but it’s worth making this note just in case something goes wrong with those projections.

Meanwhile, as far as cutoffs go, all of the major close calls hover around which players will or will not qualify as compensatory free agents. Most are straightforward in that they are close to where I have this cutoff estimated at. This has usually been a difficult cutoff to project, so I could be wrong on whether some of those players qualify or not.

But one of these qualification questions is quite convoluted. That’s the contract Mike Wallace signed with Philadelphia after leaving Baltimore. Wallace’s contract was first reported as a 1 year deal for “up to $4 million“. Then, it got revised down to “$2.5 million with incentives“. Then it was discovered that the 200-pound Wallace had a $585,000 weight bonus achieved for weighing under 250 pounds. And finally, it was discovered that Wallace’s $1 million signing bonus is an Other Amount Treated As Signing Bonus that’s believed to be a guaranteed workout bonus.

This is a blatant attempt by Eagles GM Howie Roseman to push Wallace’s value in the compensatory formula down so far that he does not qualify as a compensatory free agent, since workout bonuses, weight bonuses, and incentives do not count in the formula. Combine Wallace’s base salary of $915,000 with the fact that he played very few snaps due to going on injured reserve early in the season, and it appears that Roseman may succeed in his goal. By following the known rules of the compensatory formula, I’m projecting that Wallace will not qualify. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL Management Council sees things differently, for if this is correct, Philadelphia has blazed a new trail in how teams can manipulate the formula to their benefit.

Possible Altering Scenarios

  • Arizona
    • If Sam Bradford qualifies, Arizona will not get a 6th for Kareem Martin.
    • If Bene Benwikere qualifies, Arizona will not get a 7th for Drew Stanton.
  • Atlanta
    • If Andre Roberts qualifies but Logan Paulsen does not qualify, Atlanta will be eligible for a 7th for Roberts, but it would be unlikely to make the 32-pick limit.
    • If Andre Roberts does not qualify but Logan Paulsen does qualify, Atlanta will not get a 5th for Taylor Gabriel.
    • If neither Andre Roberts nor Logan Paulsen qualify, nothing changes for Atlanta.
  • Baltimore
    • If the entirety of Mike Wallace’s contract is counted, Baltimore could get a 7th for Ben Watson that would likely be the Mr. Irrelevant pick.
    • If Mike Wallace’s signing bonus is counted, Baltimore will be eligible for a 7th for him, but it would be unlikely to make the 32-pick limit.
  • Dallas
    • If Deonte Thompson qualifies and Bene Benwikere does not qualify, Dallas will not get a 4th for Anthony Hitchens.
    • If Deonte Thompson does not qualify and Bene Benwikere does qualify, Dallas will be eligible for a 7th for Benwikere, but it would be unlikely to make the 32-pick limit.
    • If Deonte Thompson and Bene Benwikere qualify, nothing changes for Dallas.
  • Denver
    • If Brock Osweiler qualifies, Denver will be eligible for a 7th for him, but it would be unlikely to make the 32-pick limit.
  • Minnesota
    • If Sam Bradford qualifies, Minnesota will get a 3rd for Case Keenum.
    • If Tom Compton qualifies and Tramaine Brock is valued as a 7th, Minnesota will not get a 7th for Brock.
    • If Tom Compton qualifies and Tramaine Brock is valued as a 6th, Minnesota will not get a 7th for Shamar Stephen.
  • New York Giants
    • If Geno Smith does not qualify, or Patrick Omameh does qualify, the New York Giants will not get a 5th for Devon Kennard.
    • If Geno Smith does not qualify and Patrick Omameh qualifies, the New York Giants additionally will not get a 4th for Justin Pugh.
  • Los Angeles Chargers
    • If Geno Smith does not qualify, the Los Angeles Chargers will get a 7th for Matt Slauson.
  • Philadelphia
    • If the entirety of Mike Wallace’s contract is counted, Philadelphia will not get a 6th for Beau Allen.
    • If Mike Wallace’s signing bonus is counted, Philadelphia will not get a 6th for Patrick Robinson.

2019 Compensatory Picks Projection Update (9/11/2018)

With Week 1 fully in the books, of which includes snap counts in 2017, it’s a good opportunity to take an update on where OTC’s projection of the 2018 compensatory picks stand.

TeamRoundCompensated Free AgentAPY
WAS3Kirk Cousins$28,000,000
MIN3Case Keenum$18,000,000
NE3Nate Solder$15,400,000
LAR3Sammy Watkins$15,830,000
CAR3Andrew Norwell$13,000,000
LAR3Trumaine Johnson$14,500,000
NE3Malcolm Butler$12,170,000
BAL3Ryan Jensen$10,500,000
NYG4Justin Pugh$9,005,000
IND4Donte Moncrief$9,600,000
PHI4Trey Burton$7,925,000
ATL4Dontari Poe$8,533,333
WAS5Spencer Long$6,850,000
ATL5Taylor Gabriel$6,500,000
WAS6Ryan Grant$5,000,000
NE6Dion Lewis$4,950,000
PHI6Patrick Robinson$4,925,000
PHI6Beau Allen$5,000,000
MIN6Teddy Bridgewater$5,500,000
WAS6Terrelle Pryor$4,500,000
CIN6Andre Smith$4,000,000
CIN6Chris Smith$3,900,000
SF6Aaron Lynch$3,950,000
KC6Terrance Mitchell$3,233,333
CIN6AJ McCarron$3,950,000
ARI7Jaron Brown$2,750,000
ARI7Drew Stanton$3,150,000
MIN7Tramaine Brock$3,000,000
MIN7Shamar Stephen$2,100,000
NE7Cameron Fleming$2,500,000
LAR7Cody Davis$2,500,000
ARI7Blaine Gabbert$2,000,000
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
ARI7Matt Barkley$1,400,000
LAR7Derek Carrier$1,275,000
SF7Leon Hall$1,060,000
SF7Dontae Johnson$1,060,000
IND7Frank Gore$1,105,000
SF7Tank Carradine$1,150,000
BAL7Mike Wallace$915,000
DAL7net value

Quite a few compensatory free agents (CFA) did not ultimately make their new teams’ rosters upon the cutdown to 53 players. Here are the cuts that created relevant changes to the list of projected 2019 comp picks:

  • There was a lot of activity on both sides of Dallas’s ledger. Both Jonathan Cooper and Brice Butler failed to make the rosters of San Francisco and Arizona. The Cowboys offset one of these losses by cutting Kony Ealy. However, it was not enough to avoid staying positive in the difference between CFAs lost and gained–now at two apiece. This means that Dallas’s potential 4th rounder for Anthony Hitchens has been demoted to a net value 7th that would have no reasonable chance of being within the 32 pick limit.

    It appeared that Dallas was going to rectify this by initially cutting Deonte Thompson as part of cutdown to 53. Instead, they brought him back two days later in an effort to circumvent waiver rules. But Cowboys fans should keep an eye on Thompson’s production over the next two months. If it is not good, Dallas may be better suited to let him go before Week 10 so they can regain the 4th rounder for Hitchens. A similar argument could be made for backup tackle Cameron Fleming, depending on whether the team’s depth on the offensive line can improve.

  • Cutting Cooper was not only a loss for Dallas but a gain for San Francisco. The 49ers are now projected to pick up a 6th rounder for Aaron Lynch. They also have three eligible 7th rounder for other players, but all are likely to miss the 32 pick limit.
  • The Lions saw two of their CFAs lost–Travis Swanson and Don Carey–fall off their ledger due to being cut. With only four CFAs lost to five gained, Detroit is now projected to get nothing. There is an outside chance that Carey, who was cut with an injury settlement, could still qualify, but that alone is not enough to get Detroit back on the board.
  • The Jets cut wide receiver Charles Johnson, thus costing the Carolina Panthers a 6th rounder for Ed Dickson.
  • The 49ers cut Jeremiah Attaochu, thus taking the Chargers fully out of 2019 comp pick contention, though it was only a 7th they had on the line.
  • Philadelphia improved their 2019 comp pick standing (more on that below) by cutting Corey Nelson. This kept Denver off the board despite cutting one of their own CFAs in Clinton McDonald.

With some snap counts recorded, there has also been some shuffling in the order of the comp picks. There was only one change in round that have resulted: Baltimore got their comp pick for Ryan Jensen upgraded from a 4th to a 3rd. But this, and other picks, are subject to change if players get injured or otherwise miss playing time.

Also important is the final piece of the puzzle that’s unknown for the projection: the number of leaguewide players qualifying for the formula that compensatory free agents will be judged against. Currently, that number is at 1918, but it will steadily go up during the regular season, as players are cut or placed on reserve lists, with new players signed to replace them. As this happens, some CFAs that are qualifying now may not ultimately qualify. Here are the relevant cases of that to watch:

  • The Giants got back on the board with a 4th rounder for Justin Pugh, but this happened only because Geno Smith barely made it back into qualifying range after cutdowns to 53. He’s still qualifying despite not logging any snaps, as backup quarterbacks tend to do. But he is still very much on the bubble, and unless Phillip Rivers, who has a lengthy starting streak, is unable to play, that 4th for Pugh will likely come back off the board.
  • The Falcons should be aware on how much they intend to use Logan Paulsen on offense this season. Right now, both he (a CFA signed) and Andre Roberts (a CFA lost) are barely qualifying. But Paulsen played more snaps than Roberts did on Week 1. If that continues, there may be a chance that Paulsen qualifies but Roberts does not. If that happens, the Falcons will lose a 5th rounder for Taylor Gabriel.
  • Finally, despite the best efforts of the Eagles to get Mike Wallace to not qualify for the formula, playing 91.7% of the snaps Week 1 puts him fairly comfortably in the qualifying range for now. This alone isn’t that damaging for Philadelphia, as right now Wallace is only cancelling out a 7th for LeGarrette Blount that would be on the bubble for making the 32 pick limit. But that could change if the Chargers decide to shake up their kicking position once again. Should they cut Caleb Sturgis before Week 10, Wallace would have no choice but to cancel out one of the Eagles’ 6th round picks for Beau Allen and Patrick Robinson.