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2020 Compensatory Picks Projection Update (9/25/2019)

With a few weeks of snap counts in the books for the 2019 regular season, let’s take a look at where the 2020 compensatory picks projection stands.

First, let’s start with identifying some changes from last May that I feel will be permanent.

  • The Cardinals cut Kevin White, which was bad for the Bears, as that caused the Bears to lose their one and only projected comp pick, a fourth rounder for Adrian Amos. The Bears’ league leading active drought of comp picks is likely to go from ten to eleven drafts.
  • The Cardinals caused two teams to fall completely off the 2020 comp pick list, by cutting Darius Philon after an arrest for threatening to shoot a woman outside a strip club. That was bad news for the Chargers, as this transaction caused them to lose their 4th round comp pick for Tyrell Williams.
  • The Chargers weren’t the only AFC West team to leave the list: after the Colts first placed Spencer Ware on reserve/PUP, then, at Ware’s request, released him from that list, the Chiefs lost their 4th round comp pick for Steven Nelson. Unlike with the Chargers, however, there’s a faint hope that the Chiefs’ pick could come back, as explained below.
  • The 49ers cut Jordan Matthews, and that caused the Eagles to lose their 4th round comp pick for Golden Tate.
  • The Lions cut CJ Anderson, resulting in the loss of a 4th round comp pick for Lamarcus Joyner.
  • However, there was one transaction that did cause a team to gain a comp pick. That was when Dallas cut George Iloka, opening up a 5th rounder to the Cowboys for losing Cole Beasley.

All of these losses of mid round comp picks have created a situation not seen since 2013: few, if any comp picks not being awarded due to missing the 32 pick limit. This is good news for teams like Denver, Minnesota, and the New York Giants who were previously at risk for missing out on 7th rounders due to that limit. As I’ll explain below, as it stands now there are 33 eligible comp picks, and as I see it, that number may fall to exactly 32, opening the way for Tampa Bay to be awarded with the rare net value 7th rounder for losing and gaining the same number of CFAs, but with the ones lost being valued significantly higher.

Meanwhile, this year there has been an unusual amount of movement on the compensatory picks board that I believe is largely caused to injuries to key players, most but not all of whom are compensatory free agents. Most of these changes I do not expect to linger as the players in question return to full health, but just in case they don’t, it’s at least worthwhile to study some of these changes that could stick.

For this update, I’ll do something different by displaying two tables. The first one is where the projections stand right now, after Week 3. The second one is an injury-adjusted table that attempts to take into account when some of those injured players might come back, by adjusting their snap counts accordingly.

Current Projection
TeamRoundCompensated Free AgentAPY
NE3Trent Brown$16,250,000
NYG3Landon Collins$14,000,000
HOU3Tyrann Mathieu$14,000,000
SEA3Earl Thomas$13,750,000
NE3Trey Flowers$18,000,000
PIT3Le’Veon Bell$13,125,000
LAR3Rodger Saffold$11,000,000
HOU3Kareem Jackson$11,000,000
PHI3Nick Foles$22,000,000
MIN3Sheldon Richardson$11,933,333
BAL4C.J. Mosley$17,000,000
WAS4Jamison Crowder$9,500,000
SEA4Justin Coleman$9,000,000
BAL4John Brown$9,000,000
KC4Steven Nelson$8,500,000
MIA4Ja’Wuan James$12,750,000
DEN5Billy Turner$7,000,000
DAL5Cole Beasley$7,250,000
MIA5Cameron Wake$7,666,667
NE6Malcom Brown$5,000,000
NE6Cordarrelle Patterson$5,000,000
SEA6Shamar Stephen$4,150,000
SEA7Mike Davis$2,975,000
NYG7Mario Edwards$2,500,000
MIN7Trevor Siemian$2,000,000
HOU7Christian Covington$1,687,500
DEN7Max Garcia$1,796,875
DEN7Tramaine Brock$1,325,000
MIN7Tom Compton$1,600,000
NYG7Josh Mauro$1,300,000
MIN7Andrew Sendejo$1,200,000
NYG7Kerry Wynn$1,300,000
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
TB7net value
Injury-Adjusted Projection
TeamRoundCompensated Free AgentAPY
NE3Trent Brown$16,250,000
NYG3Landon Collins$14,000,000
HOU3Tyrann Mathieu$14,000,000
SEA3Earl Thomas$13,750,000
NE3Trey Flowers$18,000,000
PHI3Nick Foles$22,000,000
PIT3Le’Veon Bell$13,125,000
BAL3C.J. Mosley$17,000,000
LAR3Rodger Saffold$11,000,000
MIA3Ja’Wuan James$12,750,000
HOU3Kareem Jackson$11,000,000
MIN3Sheldon Richardson$11,933,333
WAS4Jamison Crowder$9,500,000
SEA4Justin Coleman$9,000,000
BAL4John Brown$9,000,000
DAL5Cole Beasley$7,250,000
MIA5Cameron Wake$7,666,667
NE6Malcom Brown$5,000,000
DEN6Shaquil Barrett$4,000,000
NE6Cordarrelle Patterson$5,000,000
SEA6Shamar Stephen$4,150,000
SEA7Mike Davis$2,975,000
NYG7Mario Edwards$2,500,000
MIN7Trevor Siemian$2,000,000
HOU7Christian Covington$1,687,500
DEN7Max Garcia$1,796,875
DEN7Tramaine Brock$1,325,000
MIN7Tom Compton$1,600,000
NYG7Josh Mauro$1,300,000
MIN7Andrew Sendejo$1,200,000
NYG7Kerry Wynn$1,300,000
TB7net value

Here are the changes that I do not necessarily expect to stay, and why:

  • Philadelphia’s 3rd rounder for Nick Foles is now one of the lowest 3rd rounders instead of the highest due to his broken clavicle. However, his contract is of so high value that I do not forecast it leaving the 3rd round. If reports that Foles could return by Week 11 hold up, the pick for Foles should fall somewhere in the middle of the other 3rd round comp picks.
  • CJ Mosley’s groin injury from Week 1 has demoted his comp pick value to Baltimore from the 3rd to the 4th round. While it’s unclear when Mosley will return, I forecast that he would need to miss 13 games–an amount that feels unlikely–in order for that demotion to stick.
  • Similarly, Miami’s comp pick for Ja’Wuan James has been demoted to a 4th rounder due to a knee injury he suffered early in Week 1. Unlike with Mosley, there’s a higher change that this demotion could stick. My forecasting suggests that missing six games–of which James has done half of so far–could be enough to keep his contract valued in the 4th round.
  • Denver’s bad luck with injury doesn’t end with James: Bryce Callahan has also been indefinitely sidelined due to lingering recovery from his foot injury from the prior season. The only possible faint positive for the Broncos there is that if Callahan were to miss 10 or more games, his contract may fall in value to a 6th rounder, meaning that Denver would get a 5th for Billy Turner instead of a 6th for Shaq Barrett.
  • Although Trevor Siemian and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been placed on IR, it appears that even missing almost all of the season will not lower their contract values to the point that they would not qualify for the compensatory formula.
  • The biggest surprise has been Jordan Devey, on a minimum salary benefit contract, emerging as a starter with the Raiders. This has happened due to a combination of injuries suffered by Gabe Jackson and Denzelle Good, as well as a two game suspension of Richie Incognito. This is unexpected good news for the Chiefs, as if Devey’s qualification sticks, it would reopen their 4th round comp pick for Steven Nelson that they lost when the Colts cut Ware. However, I forecast that in order for that stick, Devey would need to start at least 13 games, something that strikes me as unlikely at this point.

There are a couple other observations to make. One is that Minnesota’s 3rd rounder for Sheldon Richardson is very much on the cusp of falling to a 4th rounder, as defensive linemen tend to not get as many snaps as other positions. Vikings fans should want Richardson to stay healthy and play as much as possible.

The other is that the Texans may pick up a second 3rd round comp pick that would be for Kareem Jackson, instead of a 7th rounder for Kendall Lamm. The reason for this is that Bradley Roby has barely fallen to the 4th round in value, thus avoiding his contract canceling out Jackson’s. However, it’s a very narrow needle being threaded between these two players, and should Roby’s contract inch back up to the 3rd round, the Texans would revert back to a 7th for Lamm instead of a 3rd Jackson. Texans fans should want Jackson to remain healthy and playing nearly all snaps in Denver, as he has done so thus far.

Finally, there are still some opportunities for teams to pick up comp picks if they cut certain players before Week 10:

  • The removal of Matthews from the Eagles’ CFAs lost column means that Philadelphia must now cut both Andrew Sendejo and LJ Fort to regain their 4th rounders for Tate and Jordan Hicks. However, with Sendejo logging a solid 41.6% of offensive snaps so far, and Fort being a leading special teams player, Howie Roseman may consider their contributions now greater than 4th round comp picks later.
  • Steelers fans were not happy with Donte Moncrief’s performance early in the season, and the team heard that loud and clear as he was benched last week. If Pittsburgh cuts Moncrief before Week 10, they open up a 7th rounder for Fort–and also further protect their 3rd rounder for Le’Veon Bell should the Eagles cut Fort for their own comp pick reasons as described above.
  • Lastly, the Bucs still have the ability to turn their net value 7th into a 3rd for Kwon Alexander if they cut one of their CFAs before Week 10. The most likely candidate would be Deone Bucannon, who has been strictly a special teamer in Tampa Bay thus far.

Evaluation Of The 2015 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 2015 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…)

2020 Compensatory Draft Picks Update (5/13/2019)

When May 7th passed, the second Tuesday after the 2019 NFL Draft, it also closed out the addition of compensatory free agents (CFAs) into the formula for the 2020 NFL Draft. After waiting to gain knowledge of relevant contracts, we can now take a look at the 2020 compensatory picks list, with only CFA subtractions now possible due to cuts or too low of a salary. (more…)

Contracts In Question After The 2019 NFL Draft

With the 2019 NFL Draft now in the books, it’s time to take a quick look at some veteran players whose contracts may be thrown into question after rookie acquisitions made by their current teams.

(more…)

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