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The Potential Pay Raises From 2021 Pro Bowl Honors

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

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

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

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

AFC Quarterback

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

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

NFC Quarterback

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

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

AFC Running Back

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

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

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

NFC Running Back

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

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

AFC Wide Receiver

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

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

NFC Wide Receiver

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

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

NFC Tight End

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

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

AFC Tackle

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

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

NFC Tackle

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

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

AFC Guard

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

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

NFC Guard

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

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

NFC Center

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

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

AFC Defensive Tackle

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

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

NFC Defensive Tackle

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

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

NFC Defensive End

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

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

AFC Outside Linebacker

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

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

AFC Inside Linebacker

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

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

NFC Inside Linebacker

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

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

AFC Free Safety

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

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

AFC Cornerback

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

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

NFC Cornerback

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

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

OTC’s Salary Cap Calculator Has Been Upgraded

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

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

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

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

Fictional Trade Deadline Tender – 2021 Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The NFL Management Council Makes Corrections To The 2021 Compensatory Picks

Per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal:

These corrections by the NFL Management Council mean that what I thought was my biggest miss in projecting the 2021 compensatory picks ended up being a correct projection on my part. I had thought the value of Damiere Byrd’s contract would not qualify against the Patriots, and that it would thus not cost them an additional comp pick on top of the 3rd and 4th rounders they had been awarded without any controversy for the departures of Tom Brady and Kyle Van Noy (the latter of who’s already back on the Patriots). The initial release of the comp picks by the NFL Management Council said otherwise, but now they have backtracked.

There are two possible reasons for this. One could have been that the qualification cutoff just needed to be nudged a little bit higher to disqualify Byrd’s contract, even at $1.9 million APY. However, I believe that is not the case, as it would cause misalignment in the valuation of other comp picks. Specifically, it is because the Patriots are only getting a 5th rounder for Jamie Collins’s departure, and not a 4th as I had projected. That valuation indicates that one thing that I still got wrong was that I had the wrong number of leaguewide players considered in the formula, regularly the most difficult aspect of projecting compensatory picks.

Instead, I am guessing that the NFL Management Council decided not to count the $300,000 in incentives that Byrd earned on the season. Further evidence of this comes from Michael Signora stating that the correction was “to the calculation of average yearly compensation”. Although Appendix V, Section 2(a) states that incentives “that are earned by the player in the first League Year of the contract” will count, my guess is that this was overridden by Paragraph 11, which allows for teams to designate signed unrestricted free agents as “Excluded UFAs” that automatically disqualify the player from qualifying as a compensatory free agent (CFA). Byrd’s base compensation was for $1.6 million, which fell below the threshold of $1.75 to qualify for Excluded UFA status. However, study into future similar contracts, where the base is below the threshold but adding earned incentives pushes it above, will be needed to verify whether this is the case.

Further evidence that there were miscalculations on the NFL Management Council’s part with regard to APY was an error in where one of the Falcons’ picks were placed. This one is easier to explain. I am guessing that they erroneously counted a $500,000 incentive in De’Vondre Campbell’s contract that would have been awarded had the Cardinals made the playoffs. I had added it in as a way to get Campbell to be placed in the right order, but since the Cardinals did not make the playoffs, clearly that was not earned by Campbell.

The lucky beneficiary of these errors were the Bears. Had the Patriots been properly awarded with a comp pick for Collins’s departure, Chicago’s second 6th rounder would have missed the 32 pick limit. However, the NFLPA was willing to relent on the 32 pick limit, and retain the awarding of that Bears pick.

Changes to my evaluation of the 2021 compensatory picks projection will be made to account for these corrections.

2022 Compensatory Picks Potential

The 2021 league year in the NFL officially starts on Wednesday, March 17. The two day negotiating period of free agency commences on Monday, March 15, and this is the time when we would typically get first knowledge of the largest contracts to be signed. With those contracts signed come the generation of compensatory picks for the 2021 NFL Draft, thus it’s time to take a look at what comp pick potential teams might be looking at.

Buffalo Bills

With Matt Milano recently extended, the only other pending UFA that might see serious action on the comp pick list would be Daryl Williams, who got his career back on track in Buffalo at right tackle. With some money to spend on a solid team with Super Bowl aspirations, the time to strike on signing the right CFA may be now. Potential: Very Low

Miami Dolphins

Ted Karras played every single snap at center on a 1-year deal. Davon Godchaux is a young interior defensive lineman that could see a comp pick worthy deal. Finally, there’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of the most popular veteran quarterbacks out there that even on a backup salary could be in consideration. But with only 13 pending UFAs and a team still being shaped for Brian Flores, more work on the free agent market could be in order. Potential: Low

New England Patriots

The Patriots have 20 total pending UFAs even after the new extensions to Cam Newton and Justin Bethel. Combine this with a team that regularly makes an effort to get them, and with previously tagged Joe Thuney not getting tagged again at the top of the list, and that should keep New England on the list somewhere. The only aggravating factors might be having the lowest payroll in the league to improve a roster on a team that missed the playoffs for the first time in ages. Potential: High

New York Jets

There are not many notable potential CFAs on the Jets’ list of pending UFAs (Breshad Perriman? Neville Hewitt?), and like their division rival Patriots, they are just below them with money to spend on a worse roster. I would expect the Jets to be one of the big teams to generate comp picks for other teams than for themselves. Potential: Very Low

Baltimore Ravens

It looks to be typical comp picks season in Baltimore once again for the 2022 NFL Draft. They’re down to only 12 pending UFAs, but they include two previously tagged edge rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon, a key reserve at the same position in Tyus Bowser, starting center Matt Skura, complementary wide receiver Willie Snead, and the perennially underrated Derek Wolfe. Potential: Very High

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals did not use a tag on either William Jackson III or Carl Lawson, and both players should be in high demand on the market. Combine this with 22 pending UFAs and a franchise that typically is not known for spending, we should expect the Bengals to break their usual drought of earning comp picks this time around. Potential: Very High

Cleveland Browns

Most of Cleveland’s pending UFAs of note that were big contributors last season are on the older side (Olivier Vernon, Malcolm Smith, Terrance Mitchell, Andrew Sendejo), which may depress their comp pick potential. Rashard Higgins is an intriguing option at wide receiver for teams should he not re-sign with the Browns. Like the Bills, a recent playoff team like the Browns might be better suited to make a push for the right CFAs right now. Potential: Low

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers just emerged from a deep cap crunch, and one consequence is that they did not use any tag on possibly worthy players like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Bud Dupree. Both should expect good deals elsewhere if they leave Pittsburgh. But it doesn’t end there: Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Mike Hilton, and Cameron Sutton are also key contributors hitting the market. The Steelers should be very competitive with the rival Ravens and Bengals in collecting comp picks for 2022. Potential: Very High

Houston Texans

Will Fuller is the only notable potential CFA of note for Houston this year, and given a new regime at both GM and head coach that’s in place, they may want to shape the roster to their own liking with external CFAs from teams they are familiar with. Potential: Very Low

Indianapolis Colts

Long time leading wide receiver TY Hilton leads this list, followed by other long time familiar names in the NFL like Justin Houston, Xavier Rhodes, and Denico Autry. The downside is that all of them are over 30. Younger names that teams might take a shot on are Marlon Mack and Malik Hooker, both recovering from injuries, and Jacoby Brissett could also be good for a high level backup contract that’s comp pick worthy. The Colts have some money to spend but they may also have room to gain some comp picks at the same time. Potential: Moderate

Jacksonville Jaguars

With Urban Meyer now in charge, the Jaguars having oodles of both cash and cap to spend, and with Keelan Cole leading a very unimpressive list of pending UFAs, look for the Jaguars to extend their league leading comp pick drought from 11 drafts to 12. Potential: Very Low

Tennessee Titans

Notable Titans hitting the free agency market are Jonnu Smith, Jayon Brown, Corey Davis, Desmond King, and DaQuan Jones, with the eternally curious contractual case of Jadeveon Clowney on the table as well. Last offseason, the Titans broke their long drought of comp picks with quality, focusing on one 3rd rounder for letting Jack Conklin depart, while extending other candidates in Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. This time around, I’d expect more quantity coming Tennessee’s way. Potential: High

Denver Broncos

With Justin Simmons once again tagged, likely on the path to a long term extension, Shelby Harris is the only other pending UFA of note, and his value on the market has high variance to it at that. The Broncos’ needs in free agency are very targeted (cornerback, high level backup quarterback), but especially if they extend Harris this may be a good year for new GM George Paton to acquire more CFA talent if the price is right for now, laying the path for comp picks later. Potential: Low

Kansas City Chiefs

On the one hand, the Chiefs have a handful of intriguing potential CFAs that could similar intrigue teams. Bashaud Breeland, Austin Reiter, Demarcus Robinson, and Daniel Sorensen are among them, and never discount Sammy Watkins getting another big deal based on his high draft pedigree. On the other hand, their offensive line needs a ton of help, as Super Bowl LV demonstrated, and was confirmed with the recent cuts of long time tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, and they may have no choice but participate a little in the CFA market in order to fix it. Potential: Moderate

Las Vegas Raiders

Jon Gruden has never been shy in pursuing CFAs–even when they regularly don’t work out–nor has he been shy in tampering with them, either. With an offensive line decimated by recent cuts, a defense still very much struggling, and Nelson Agholor the only possible CFA of note, I expect Gruden to continue his modus operandi of being a league leader in signing CFAs, creating comp picks for other teams instead of the Raiders. Potential: Very Low

Los Angeles Chargers

Hunter Henry did not receive another tag, and thus he’ll be a leading tight end on the free agent market for teams to target. Melvin Ingram turns 32 but should also still have demand at edge rusher, too. Other players that could get comp pick worthy interest include Michael Davis, Rayshawn Jenkins, Denzel Perryman, and a trio of starting offensive linemen in Sam Tevi, Forrest Lamp, and Dan Feeney. However, given those last three pending departures, of which Trai Turner may soon join them, the Chargers’ comp pick potential could be hampered by the necessity to sign CFA offensive linemen. Potential: Moderate

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys prioritize keeping their own homegrown players–like Dak Prescott–over signing external veterans, and this practice naturally leads them to earn comp picks. This offseason should be no different, with players like Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods, and Tyrone Crawford hitting the market, with Andy Dalton still likely good for a high backup QB salary that would be comp pick worthy. Potential: High

New York Giants

With Leonard Williams tagged again, the defensive lineman that will likely get the most attention in free agency will be Dalvin Tomlinson. Kyler Fackrell could also get some attention after playing out a one year deal in New York, while Wayne Gallman caught some eyes in relief of Saquon Barkley in 2020. An aggravating factor is that there’s not many other notable CFAs beyond this trio, but a mitigating factor is that the Giants don’t have a lot of cap space to work with to pursue external CFAs. Potential: Moderate

Philadelphia Eagles

Never count out Howie Roseman in the quest for comp picks, but this looks like a weak year for him to pursue them for Philadelphia. Jalen Mills is the only Eagle that looks to sign a comp pick worthy contract on a low list of 12 pending UFAs. However, with the Eagles holding a high payroll and low cap space, that might end up naturally creating a comp pick or two for them. Potential: Low

Washington Football Team

The two names to watch here would be Ronald Darby, who may finally get his chance to earn a lucrative long term deal, and Ryan Kerrigan, long a reliable edge rusher but no longer has a path to starting in DC with Chase Young and Montez Sweat now in town. However, Ron Rivera does have cash to spend to improve the team if he so chooses, so there is reasonable doubt as to whether he’ll pursue the path of comp picks down the road, or CFA help right now Potential: Moderate

Chicago Bears

The Bears have 20 pending UFAs, but there’s only two of them that might be comp pick worthy: defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, and of course Mitch Trubisky, even if it’s only on a backup contract. If the Bears do get comp picks, it’ll likely be similar to last offseason, with more quantity than quality, getting 6th or 7th rounders on the lower end of the list. Potential: Low

Detroit Lions

Kenny Golladay was not tagged by the Lions, making him perhaps the most desired wide receiver that will become a UFA. Romeo Okwara and Marvin Jones round out a list of 18 total pending UFAs. The Lions typically do not prioritize comp picks, but on one hand there is a new GM in Brad Holmes in the building, and like many teams the Lions are on the cap brink. But on the other hand, Holmes may want to immediately craft his new roster to his liking, starting with free agency. If the Lions do pursue comp picks, the priority will likely be focusing on preserving a 3rd rounder for Golladay’s departure. Potential: Moderate

Green Bay Packers

It looks like business as usual for generating comp picks for Green Bay. Corey Linsley and Aaron Jones will be the two leading names to watch here, and despite his playoff struggles Kevin King could get a comp pick worthy deal as well. Combine their history with a payroll that’s already been dedicated to the players they’ve committed to keep, and it would be a surprise if we don’t see the Packers on the final comp pick list. Potential: Very High

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings’ quantity of pending UFAs is low at 11, but they do have some quality to work with here. That starts with Anthony Harris, who will not be tagged again, and fellow defenders in Eric Wilson and Jaleel Johnson. The question will be whether Minnesota has to hold off on signing CFAs of their own to avoid canceling any of these possible departures. Potential: Moderate

Atlanta Falcons

Alex Mack turns 36, but may still have plenty of desire for teams to continue his career at center. Keanu Neal, Damontae Kazee, and Sharrod Neasman will be a trio of safeties that could also pique attention elsewhere. With other peripheral names like Darqueze Dennard or Charles Harris on the table, there’s no one that stands out for the Falcons but their pending UFA slate is not desolate, either. Potential: Moderate

Carolina Panthers

There’s not a lot of intriguing names slated to leave Charlotte: Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis might be the only headliners. Perhaps Russell Okung can still find attention at a desirable position at tackle. Also working against the Panthers getting comp picks is having plenty of money to spend on a team that still needs improvement. Potential: Low

New Orleans Saints

The Saints surprisingly tagged Marcus Williams, but even with him off the market they have lots of other pending UFAs that will draw interest. They include Trey Hendrickson, Alex Anzalone, Sheldon Rankins, and Jameis Winston. Combine this with one of the most nightmarish cap situations the NFL has seen in years, and it may no longer be prudent to regularly note that the Saints historically don’t care about comp picks. Potential: Very High

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs tagged Chris Godwin, and extended Lavonte David, so those moves, though obviously a net positive for the franchise, depressed their comp pick potential for 2022. But they still have Shaq Barrett to try to also extend before he’d hit the market as a very desirable edge rusher. Other players with contracts expiring are Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and while it would seem highly unlikely that Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Brown would play elsewhere, they also are without new contracts. Conclude this with a total of 23 pending UFAs, and even if the Bucs succeed in extending Barrett, they should still be in play for comp picks. Potential: Moderate

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are tied for the lead with a division rival with pending UFAs at 26. That alone will put them in play for some form of comp picks. Most of them won’t generate such picks, but there’s enough notable names at the top (Haason Reddick, Patrick Peterson, Kelvin Beachum, De’Vondre Campbell, Dre Kirkpatrick) that they could be in good shape even if they decide to pursue external CFAs to sign. Potential: High

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are the inverse of all of their division rivals: low in quantity (11 pending UFAs) but high in quality (John Johnson, Leonard Floyd, Troy Hill, Austin Blythe, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett Samson Ebukam). Combine this with their payroll very locked in on their top players, and their draft capital depleted from acquiring such players, and the Rams will likely appreciate some high comp picks to help fill that void. Potential: Very High

San Francisco 49ers

And it’s the 49ers that are the aforementioned tie with the Cardinals in leading in pending UFAs. And there’s some good names set to hit the market, too: Trent Williams, Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Kerry Hyder, Kendrick Bourne, Kyle Juszczyk, Jaquiski Tartt, and Jason Verrett. Like the Cardinals, the 49ers should have no problem earning comp picks even if they sign external CFAs to replace some of them. Potential: Very High

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks also have a high number of pending UFAs at 21, and like the 49ers and Cardinals there are names that could get attention on the market at the top. They include Shaquill Griffin, Chris Carson, David Moore, Quinton Dunbar, and perhaps most intriguing is the very long tenured KJ Wright. Seattle is not afraid of signing CFAs from other teams if they feel they need them, but they also have a long history of prioritizing comp picks. Potential: High

New Changes to OTC’s Draft Section

In preparation for free agency, of which will result in the beginning of the creation of a new slate of compensatory picks, as well as the draft itself, OTC’s section on the draft has been upgraded to better serve the needs of learning more about the draft from a contractual standpoint.

Streamlined Draft Page

OTC’s main draft page will be keeping things simpler for the time being. One table, listing all draft picks, and what contract each pick will receive. This will allow for more flexibility in the future to add more possible draft features, as well as to build an archive of previous drafts.

Rookie pools have been updated to account for the current salary cap. Updates on traded picks have also been made, a process that will be finalized when the NFL releases its full draft order soon.

Centralized Compensatory Picks Page

You’ll now find on the same page OTC’s list of projected compensatory picks, as well as cancellation charts for all 32 teams. Our goal here is to make it easier for readers to understand how comp picks are assigned by being able to see the list and charts side by side in one view.

Currently, comp pick information for 2021 is up, as well as for 2022, which will update in real time as compensatory free agent (CFA) signings are agreed upon, starting next week. Comp pick history for previous drafts will be restored in the near future. OTC’s old comp pick cancellation charts page is now deprecated and will be sunsetted in the near future, so please use this link to OTC’s compensatory picks page from here on out.

Compensatory Formula Page

Appendix V of the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement ended the official secrecy of the compensatory formula. To help to provide more transparency to how the compensatory formula works, we’ve created a dedicated page on the subject. Here, you will see all players considered in the formula, with CFAs highlighted, as well as OTC’s projections on how each player’s points are calculated in order to rank them by round. This is a good place to go if you understand the basics well and are looking to go into the weeds on why certain players are valued at certain rounds.

Fitzgerald-Spielberger Trade Value Chart

Finally, we have created a page to reference our recommended trade value chart, devised by OTC founder Jason Fitzgerald and Pro Football Focus analyst Brad Spielberger. Use this chart to assist in whether trades of draft picks make good sense, and to learn more, consider reading The Drafting Stage.

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To access all of OTC’s draft tools, go to its dedicated dropdown on the navigation dashboard. We hope these upgrades will make your draft-oriented, contract-based information gathering better!