Front Office Scheme Bolstered by Ability to Trade Compensatory Picks

On Friday, February 23 the NFL released its annual list of compensatory picks for the draft on April 26th (see here). Thirty-two draft picks were awarded to fifteen teams, with the Bengals, Cowboys, Packers and Raiders leading the way with four each. In a nutshell, teams receive a compensatory draft pick for each of their unrestricted free agents signed away by another team in a given offseason, minus the amount of unrestricted free agents they sign from other teams, up to a maximum of four. The teams that are awarded the picks, as well as the round in which the picks fall, are determined by the NFL using a “secret formula.” (For a detailed overview see Over The Cap: Comp Picks Explained). Full 2018 list:

2018 NFL Compensatory Draft Picks

Cincinnati4
Dallas4
Green Bay4
Oakland4
Arizona3
Houston3
Minnesota2
Atlanta1
Baltimore1
Denver1
Kansas City1
LA Chargers1
New England1
New York Giants1
Tampa Bay1

With the introduction of compensatory draft picks in the 1993 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL sought to provide relief for teams that lost quality players in free agency. The picks serve as a consolation prize for a team potentially losing a key player within their organization. As with any new provision in a CBA, there are always loopholes to be exploited (and they’re usually first discovered by the Patriots). The advent of the compensatory pick was no different, and many tricks of the trade have since come to the surface.

One such example may have played a role in the Packers’ early dismissal of Martellus Bennett this past season. Putting his struggles on the field aside, Bennett was projected to count against the Packers’ compensatory pick considerations in this upcoming draft. However, one stipulation of the compensatory pick determination dictates that if a team cuts a player before Week 10 that player won’t count against their picks (it’s an added bonus when someone claims the player off waivers and bears the full burden of their contract, which is what the Patriots did with Bennett).

Beginning with the 2017 draft, the NFL owners voted to allow compensatory draft picks to be traded. This update provided further incentive for teams to stockpile comp picks, and it will likely lead to a strong uptick in another popular front office maneuver involving the comp pick formula. With 2018 free agency in full swing, prepare to see more contracts that include team options on the back end, and here’s why:

If a team decides they no longer want a player that has years remaining on his contract, they must cut him before the first day of the league year (March 14th for 2018). If a player is cut, thereby terminating his contract before its natural end, the player cannot count towards a team’s compensatory draft pick award when another team signs him. On the other hand, if a team no longer wants a player whose contract includes a club option for the upcoming season, declining to pick up the option is not considered terminating a contract before its natural end.

Although the result of a cut and declined option is the same; the team foregoes their exclusive right to retain a player, one may result in the team receiving a draft pick while the other cannot. This trick was already enticing to clubs prior to the rule change in 2017, and now that these picks may be traded we should expect to see it even more often. The traditional club option includes an option bonus; a lump sum of money treated as a signing bonus, if the team picks it up then the player has the option bonus amount prorated over the remaining years on the contract. These options were usually attached to the later years of a contract, four or five years after its execution. Recently, teams have begun including club options in contracts that are not tied to an option bonus, but are merely an agreement that the club has the right to terminate the players’ contract at the end of a season without it being considered a true cut. These “options” provide a lot of flexibility for the franchise at essentially no cost, and teams like the Ravens have begun including them after each season of a contract (more on this later).

A prime example of a club option where the team planned for a compensatory pick was Darrelle Revis’ contract with the Patriots. New England signed Revis in the 2014 offseason for 2 years, $32 million. However, here’s the contract breakdown:

($10 million total signing bonus)

Year 1 – 2014

2014 P5 Base Salary of $1.5 million fully guaranteed

2014 Per-game Roster Bonus of $500,000 (total of $500,000 over 16 games)

2014 Signing bonus of $5 million fully guaranteed

Year 2 – 2015 (Club Option)

2015 P5 Base Salary of $7.5 million

2015 Roster Bonus $12 million

2015 Per-game Roster Bonus of $500,000 (total of $500,000 over 16 games)

2015 Signing bonus of $5 million fully guaranteed

The Patriots effectively got Revis, considered by many to be the best cornerback in the NFL, for one-year, $12 million ($10 million signing bonus, $1.5 million 2014 P5 base salary, $500,000 per-game roster bonus for 2014), and won a Super Bowl in the process. The $20 million price tag for exercising the club option on Revis in 2015 ($7.5 million 2015 P5, $12 million offseason Roster Bonus, $500,000 per-game roster bonus for 2015) was presumably not going to be picked up, especially by the Patriots. Revis instead signed a monster deal with the New York Jets, and the Patriots received the second highest compensatory pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the 96th overall pick in the 3rd round.

Although perhaps not the primary reason for including the option, another example of this practice occurred in the 2017 offseason, and it certainly paid off in a big way. Prior to the start of the 2016 season the Denver Broncos signed Russell Okung (who was acting as his own agent which cannot be ignored) to a 5-year / $53 million-dollar contract. However, the contract included a club option after 2016, and the details left virtually zero incentive for the Broncos to retain Okung after one year. Take a look at the breakdown of Okung’s deal:

Year 1 – 2016

P5 Base Salary: $2 million non-guaranteed

Roster Bonus: $2 million non-guaranteed

Rehab Bonus: $1 million non-guaranteed (Okung had offseason shoulder surgery)

Okung performed adequately in 2016, but anything short of dropping back under center and slinging a few TD passes for the QB desperate Broncos pretty much assured that his club option would not be picked up. The team option ($1 million) going into Year 2, if exercised, provided Okung the following:

Year 2 – 2017

2017 P5 Base Salary of $2 million fully guaranteed

2017 Roster Bonus of $8 million fully guaranteed

2018 P5 Base Salary of $9.5 million fully guaranteed

Had the Broncos exercised Okung’s option they would have been on the hook for $19.5 million dollars fully guaranteed, after not guaranteeing him a penny in Year 1. This was never going to happen, but when Okung signed with the LA Chargers before the 2017 season (4 years / $53 million) his final contribution to Denver came in the form of the third highest compensatory pick in the entire 2018 draft. Denver selected Isaac Yiadom with the 99th overall selection in the 3rd round of 2018 thanks to Okung and a club option that all but ensured he was gone after a year. This scheme can yield tremendous returns for teams, and there is almost no downside. One can only imagine the impact on contract construction across the league now that these compensatory picks are eligible for trade, thus driving up their value.

Compensatory pick scheming can also backfire, such as a team insulting a player with a tender offer, where it is clear the only reason they extended the offer was in hopes of receiving a comp pick. This was the case with the Patriots’ handling of LeGarrette Blount. In the 2017 offseason, the Patriots extended a tender offer to Blount for one-year, $1.1 million dollars. The offer came on the last day that NFL teams would receive a comp pick if they lost a player to free agency. The Patriots had seven other running backs on their roster and had previously shown no interest in retaining Blount. New England was taking a gamble that someone else would top their offer, with the risk of just over one million dollars worth taking. Sure enough, the Eagles stepped in and beat New England’s offer, leaving the Patriots with the right to match it or potentially receive a comp pick. According to our comp pick expert, Nick Korte, Blount was just outside of the 32-compensatory pick limit, and will award the Patriots nothing. Blount certainly has the last laugh for now after steamrolling New England in the Super Bowl to the tune of 90 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries.

Now, you may be thinking there is no way a late-round draft pick could possibly make up for the loss of a good player. Well, as previously mentioned, the Patriots are known for their excellence in exploiting all that the CBA has to offer. New England used a comp pick in 2000 when they drafted a QB prospect out of Michigan by the name of Tom Brady in the 6th Round with the 199th overall (compensatory) pick. The list of notable compensatory pick selections is a long one, with franchise cornerstone players including:

Mike Vrabel – Pittsburgh Steelers, Round 3, Pick No. 91 overall, 1997

Matt Hasselbeck – Green Bay Packers, Round 6, Pick No. 187 overall, 1998

Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints, Round 7, Pick No. 252 overall, 2006

La’Roi Glover – Oakland Raiders, Round 5, Pick No. 166 overall, 1996

Hines Ward – Pittsburgh Steelers, Round 3, Pick No. 92 overall, 1998

Josh Sitton – Green Bay Packers, Round 4, Pick No. 135 overall, 2008

Antoine Bethea – Indianapolis Colts, Round 6, Pick No. 207 overall, 2006

Pierre Garcon – Indianapolis Colts, Round 6, Pick No. 205 overall, 2008

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys, Round 4, Pick No. 135 overall, 2016

David Tyree – New York Giants, Round 6, Pick No. 211 overall, 2003

Malcolm Smith – Seattle Seahawks, Round 7, Pick No. 242 overall, 2011

Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants, Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall, 2007

Super Bowl MVPs, perennial Pro-Bowlers, and the greatest Quarterback that ever lived are just some of the compensatory picks from years past. Certain NFL teams prioritize acquiring compensatory picks far more than others, with the Ravens topping the all-time list with 49 (roughly two per draft since 1994), and the Saints bringing up the rear with just 10. Here is the full list:

SUMMARY OF COMPENSATORY DRAFT PICKS, 1994-2018

Baltimore49
Green Bay42
Dallas41
New England35
Los Angeles Rams33
Cincinnati32
Pittsburgh32
Philadelphia30
San Francisco30
Tennessee30
Seattle29
Buffalo28
Kansas City24
New York Giants24
Arizona22
Indianapolis22
Denver21
Detroit21
Oakland21
LA Chargers20
Miami20
Atlanta19
Jacksonville19
Minnesota19
Tampa Bay19
Carolina17
Chicago17
Houston15
New York Jets14
Cleveland13
Washington12
New Orleans10

Contract Construction

Player agents would be wise to leverage the possibility of their client awarding the team a comp pick during contract negotiations, considering the team will likely be the one to introduce the idea of a club option. Draft picks have a ton of value, this was clearly evidenced by the Browns who last year paid $16 Million for a 2nd Round Pick. The Ravens, who love to stick as many club options into their contracts as possible, included a club option in every year of Brandon Carr’s contract. The ability to decide at the end of each season whether a player is worth retaining, or whether you would prefer to let him hit the open market and potentially receive a draft pick in the process, is a very nice position to be in.

Here is the list of players who had club options built into their contracts for the upcoming 2018 season:

2018

Brandon Carr CB Baltimore Ravens – $7,000,000 (Exercised)

Adam “Pacman” Jones CB Cincinnati Bengals – $6,447,918 (Declined)

Austin Howard RT Baltimore Ravens – $5,000,000 (Declined)

Torrey Smith WR Philadelphia Eagles – $5,000,000 (Traded)

Alan Branch DT New England Patriots – $4,550,000 (Declined)

Elvis Dumervil OLB San Francisco 49ers – $4, 250,000 (Declined)

Cordarrelle Patterson WR Oakland Raiders – $3,250,000 (Traded)

Josh Robinson CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $1,875,000 (Exercised)

Here are some notable players who have a club option in their contract for the 2019 season (with 2019 Salary Cap Hit) :

2019

Jason Peters    LT       Philadelphia Eagles     $10,666,668

Pierre Garcon  WR      San Francisco 49ers    $8,400,000

Menelik Watson RT    Denver Broncos          $7,458,334

Brandon Carr  CB       Baltimore Ravens       $7,000,000

Jerick McKinnon RB  San Francisco 49ers    $6,000,000

Kyle Juszczyk FB       San Francisco 49ers    $5,950,000

Recent Signings

It should be no surprise that some of the biggest contracts signed so far in free agency (excluding Quarterbacks), are full of club options:

Andrew Norwell G Jacksonville Jaguars 5 yrs/$66.5 million – Club Option 2020, 2021, 2022

Malcolm Butler CB Tennessee Titans 5 yrs/$61.25 million – Club Option 2020, 2021, 2022

Weston Richburg C San Francisco 49ers 5 yrs/$47.5 million – Club Option 2021, 2022

Anthony Hitchens LB Kansas City Chiefs 5 yrs/$45 million – Club Option 2020, 2021, 2022

Nigel Bradham LB Philadelphia Eagles 5 yrs/$40 million – Club Option 2020, 2021, 2022

Jerick McKinnon RB San Francisco 49ers 4yrs/$30 million – Club Option 2019, 2020, 2021

Most of these new club options do NOT include an option bonus, thereby giving all the benefit to the team while the player must enter each offseason with questions about their future. It is quite a luxury when managing a roster headed into the offseason. Additionally, having a stash of compensatory picks during the draft leads to plenty of maneuvering and creativity. Cincinnati, Green Bay, Oakland and Arizona – 4 of the top 5 teams in terms of 2018 compensatory pick allotment – all made trades in the first round of the NFL Draft (Green Bay and Oakland made multiple). With more ammunition in their arsenal, and with the new ability to use compensatory picks in draft day trades, these teams were very active throughout the draft. Whether or not the picks work out is a different story, but what is for certain is because of comp pick capital these teams were aggressive in landing their targeted guys in the draft at the moments they felt necessary.

With some teams carrying up to twelve total draft picks (Green Bay had eight standard picks and four compensatory picks), they can package these in trades to maneuver around the draft board, and ideally get the seven-to-eight guys they want most. In the case of the Packers, they traded back in the first round from 14 to 27 and secured a 2019 first-round pick from the Saints in the process. Green Bay then traded back down with the Seahawks to 18 to take Jaire Alexander from Louisville, sending Seattle their 3rd and 6th round picks and recouping a 7th rounder. They then traded a 4th and 5th round pick to move up to the 88th overall pick in the 3rd round and land Oren Burks from Vanderbilt. With all this maneuvering they still drafted eleven players. They traded away their 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th round picks, but it hardly mattered considering they had two 4ths, a 5th and a 6th in compensatory picks. Whether or not the players pan out remains to be seen, but the Packers did not have to rely on taking the “Best Player Available,” they didn’t sit in their war room hoping a guy they liked would fall to them, they were able to go get the guys they wanted when they felt they needed to.

It is probably no coincidence that the top four teams on the all-time list of compensatory picks (Baltimore, Green Bay, Dallas, New England) happen to be four of the best teams in the NFL at producing home-grown talent. They simply have a higher likelihood of one or two of their draft picks working out when they bring eight-to-ten new draft picks into camp every year.

2018 AFC South Offseason Overview By Team

I will be posting a handy reference guide that brings together all of the relevant information here on Over The Cap for each division in the NFL as free agency begins next week. You’ll be able to see the cap room your favorite team has, an overview of some team needs, the draft picks they’re projected to have, and what those draft picks are projected to cost.

Continue reading 2018 AFC South Offseason Overview By Team »

2018 AFC North Offseason Overview By Team

I will be posting a handy reference guide that brings together all of the relevant information here on Over The Cap for each division in the NFL as free agency begins next week. You’ll be able to see the cap room your favorite team has, an overview of some team needs, the draft picks they’re projected to have, and what those draft picks are projected to cost.

Continue reading 2018 AFC North Offseason Overview By Team »

2018 AFC East Offseason Overview By Team

I will be posting a handy reference guide that brings together all of the relevant information here on Over The Cap for each division in the NFL as free agency begins next week. You’ll be able to see the cap room your favorite team has, an overview of some team needs, the draft picks they’re projected to have, and what those draft picks are projected to cost.

Continue reading 2018 AFC East Offseason Overview By Team »

Are the Jets Prepared to Pay Kirk Cousins $60M in 2018?

Brian Costello wrote an article yesterday that indicated that the Jets were hot for Kirk Cousins and might be willing to do whatever it takes to get him. The number of $150 million over 5 years was mentioned and I think that is feasible for a team to consider. However the number that did really surprise me was when a source indicated that $60 million in the first year might be what it takes to get a deal done. So I wanted to explore that number and how it could possibly work for the Jets or any other team. Continue reading Are the Jets Prepared to Pay Kirk Cousins $60M in 2018? »

Top 100 Free Agent List

Since I have been receiving so many questions about free agents I thought it might be fun to put together a top 100 unrestricted free agents list. I ranked the players in order of where I think their APY might land. I didn’t put in estimated values but the cutoff for the bottom of the list is around $3.5 million. I am sure there are a few names I simply missed here and there so feel free to ask about any players and Ill try to answer in the comments. Remember these are just one persons opinion to give a general overview of free agency. Clicking on the table headers should allow you to sort by team, position, age, etc…

RankNamePositionTeamAgeSnapsNotes
1Kirk CousinsQBRedskins301012Biggest name QB to hit free agency since Peyton Manning in 2012. Could challenge for $30 million a year if market breaks right.
2Drew BreesQBSaints391034Veteran QB still plays at a high level. Likely to stay in New Orleans with a deal signed right before start of free agency
3Demarcus LawrenceDECowboys2670414.5 sack season makes him a lock for the franchise tag. Would make a massive payday if he goes to market.
4Case KeenumQBVikings301016Right place, right time for Keenum last year. When a QB hits like that they generally get a good payday. Transition  tag could be in play, though likely too expensive.
5Ziggy AnsahDELions29516Ultra talented player but injuries are a concern. Hard to see a number 5 pick off a 12 sack year not getting close to $15M no matter what negatives exist.
6LeVeon BellRBSteelers26945Most used running back in the league will likely get tagged again and earn close to $15 million in the process.
7Jarvis LandryWRDolphins26932Market dynamics for receivers changed again this year and Landry should benefit. Only once in the last 5 years have the top receivers not gotten massive free agent paydays
8Nate SolderLTPatriots301116Left tackles are like QBs when it comes to the payscale. None are available so those who are get paid near the top.
9Andrew NorwellGPanthers271079Will see the new high water mark for guards. Hottest free agent position the last two years and Norwell upped his stock significantly this year.
10Trumaine JohnsonCBRams28938Versatile corner is probably the only player more teams than not think could be a top cover corner. Generally such players hit double digit APYs.
11Justin PughGGiants28435Positional need and versatility make Pugh a good bet to reach the $10 million mark despite nagging injuries.
12Allen RobinsonWRJaguars253Best receiver available but coming off injury has me concerned about the kind of offers that will come in. Could be tagged, but I could see logic in taking 1 year deal with a contending team with a good QB.
13Malcolm ButlerCBPatriots281040Stock took a big hit this year but he should still do well in free agency since most corners do pretty well.
14Sheldon RichardsonDTSeahawks28655Cant see teams risking a long term contract with Richardson, but he is too talented for a team to pass up on a one year contract. Last year this position saw multiple players take deals like this.
15Sammy WatkinsWRRams25778Wouldn’t surprise me for Watkins to earn $11 million a year from the Rams or be lucky to find $7 million elsewhere. Inconsistent but very young and has a high pedigree.
16LaMarcus JoyerSRams28688Stood out in his walk year and is pretty versatile in coverage. Those players in recent years have scored big contracts in free agency.
17Prince AmukamaraCBBears29848Solid corner that has taken one year contracts since leaving the Giants. Probably time to take a 3 or 4 year deal for over $8 million a season.
18Dontari PoeDTFalcons28742Good player but injury issues and inability to pressure the QB will likely keep him out from making the kind of money the better interior d-line players make.
19Sam BradfordQBVikings3191A pure gamble given that a strong gust of wind might break him. Not sure any free agent lost more money this year than Bradford.
20Jimmy GrahamTESeahawks32730Aging tight ends best days are behind him, but he is a solid red zone threat and has to be respected in passing game. Doubtful he matches his old contract but $8 million isnt a reach considering his name.
21Kyle FullerCBBears261015Too many questionable years for teams to gamble on a big contract.  Would expect a moderate one year contract knowing big money awaits next year.
22Eric ReidS49ers27740Versatile player that can do a lot on the field but has been a bit lost in the 49ers shuffle the last few years. Team could get a big bargain here if in the $8M range.
23Star LotuleleiDTPanthers29590Solid defensive tackle will get a lot of looks from teams looking for an affordable player that can play both run and pass.
24AJ McCarronQBBengals2826Somehow I have a feeling his stock increased by never playing and the Browns almost making a ridiculous trade for him. Still hard to see him breaking the bank in a crowded field of options this year.
25Kenny VaccaroSSaints27618Salary may be based more on where he was drafted and potential than anything done on the field. Still upside gets players paid in free agency.
26Morgan BurnettSPackers29728Should gain interest as a second safety similar to the crop of players who all got contracts in the $7 million range last season
27Tre BostonSChargers261041Plays pretty much every down and doesn’t make many blatant mistakes. Doesn’t have the kind of upside other might.
28Brent GrimesCBBuccaneers35781Part of me wants to say his age should put him down in the $3 million range, but hes been good enough to probably hold out and wait for something close to the $6.5M he earned last season.
29Jay CutlerQBDolphins35764If Cutler had a better attitude hed be locked in somewhere at close to $20 million a year. Since he doesn’t I guess the question is will he play for $7 million in 2018?
30Bennie LoganDTChiefs29574One year gamble didn’t hurt or help him. Probably lands on a 43 team looking for a situational player.
31Isaiah CrowellRBBrowns25536Consistent year to year and some teams may see more upside since he put up all his numbers on the worst team in the NFL. Can he break the $6m barrier?
32Teddy BridgewaterQBVikings269Another enigma because of injury, but a 1st round guy who certainly didn’t bust should be worth between $6 and $7 million for a year or two. Could be a steal if healthy.
33Josh McCownQBJets39819McCown had best year of his career before his annual injury cut it short. Still its hard to see his stock improving any from last year given age.
34Trey BurtonTEEagles27300High upside tight end should get more action than Graham though not as much money. Should top $6M and $7m is a possibility given the way teams pay for tight ends.
35Paul RichardsonWRSeahawks26816Should have established himself in the lower second tier of receivers. Intriguing because of down field ability and chance to thrive in a different style offense.
36TJ CarrieCBRaiders281024Should get the top slot money this year unless teams see him playing the outside. If he sticks with Raiders his money could go up based on how they paid others.
37Marqise LeeWRJaguars27738Decent second target on a team with a top level 1 to draw defenses. Likely doesn’t have the big play upside to see stock rise despite lack of top options this year.
38EJ GainesCBBills26654Had a good year in Buffalo and should have no problems earning similar to the $6-$6.5M contracts the decent slot guys have received in recent years.
39Bashaud BreelandCBRedskins26856Has the physical tools to score a big contract and it would not stun me is someone reached big for him, but more likely he’ll earn a mid/lower level 2nd corner contract.
40Aaron ColvinCBJaguars27705Everything about Gaines pretty much applies here.
41NaVorro BowmanLBRaiders30999Often injured and doesn’t play a position that typically gets paid big, but he plays big enough when healthy to top the $6 million a year mark.
42Nigel BradhamLBEagles29923Had a great year for the Eagles and was in almost every play, but position rarely gets paid big in free agency. Maybe he will be the exception.
43Adrian ClaybornDEFalcons30533Most of his top line production all came in one game so his overall numbers will be discounted because of that. Still a solid veteran that can rush the passer should get a decent raise over his current $4.25M per year deal.
44Morris ClaiborneCBJets28921Had a solid year with the Jets but had to be near top of the NFL in defensive holding calls.  Affordable second corner but teams wont look for upside.
45Carlos HydeRB49ers27786Shown that he can play in all phases of the game over last two seasons and three down players will break $5 million.
46Weston RichburgCGiants27239The best available center, though season ending on IR with a concussion could scare some teams off.
47Ryan JensenCRavens271086Had a good season in his walk year and overall effort week in and out will make him a solid 2nd tier center.
48Byron MaxwellCBSeahawks30584Play looked worse because of his contract but veteran players like Maxwell can usually find in the mid $5 million range.
49Denico AutryDTRaiders28592Productive pass rusher. If teams think he can start and be more consistent could be worth more.
50Austin Seferian JenkinsTEJets26655Expect ASJ to get paid based on narrow salary band at position and his draft status.
51Kyle WilliamsDTBills34758Veteran DT should be able to score a nice two year contract in Buffalo or elsewhere.
52Mike WallaceWRRavens32714Wallace is still productive as a secondary target and is a known quantity. He should be able to be in the $5 million range again on a short term deal.
53Josh KlineGTitans291023Not a difference maker, but a solid professional that can solidify the guard position.
54Kony EalyEdgeJets27452Enigma player. Has ability to be one of best bargains in the NFL if he develops or wasted cap space if he doesn’t.
55Paul PoslusznyLBJaguars34481Aging linebacker should earn close to what he did last season, likely with the Jaguars.
56Chris HubbardRTSteelers27781Made the most of opportunity last season and should have a chance to earn a low end starting contract for a right tackle.
57Dion LewisRBPatriots28404Solid run at the end of the season to improve his stock. If teams think he can catch he should find a nice market.
58Patrick RobinsonCBEagles31710Really good season for the Eagles, but at 31 and an up and down career the ceiling is pretty limited.
59Trent MurphyEdgeRedskins280Spent the year on IR and was also suspended. Lost a chance to cash in because of that but should get 3rd tier rusher money with incentives to increase.
60John BrownWRCardinals28898Ultimate boom or bust type. Numbers down the last two seasons but could find that 1,000 yard form with new setting. Could see him earning more if teams get hot for him.
61Ross CockrellCBGiants27681Should add solid depth to a secondary. Has started the last two years more often than not, but ultimate role will probably be as an extra DB.
62DaQuan JonesDETitans27437Fills the role of professional lineman on a team with talent.  Paired with right personnel could surprise.
63Jordan MatthewsWRBills265092017 was a lost year. If teams discount the season expect him to earn in the $6-7M range, but if they don’t hell stick here in the $4.5M range.
64Avery WilliamsonLBTitans26654Jack of all trades linebacker, but unless you standout its hard to breakout in free agency as a linebacker.
65Jack MewhortGColts27313Solid player that could hit the $6 million range, but injuries have derailed him and he didn’t stand out enough when not injured. Could be a 1 year deal.
66Tahir WhiteheadLBLions28950On the field nearly every down and a pretty sure tackler. Id imagine a new contract very similar to last extension at $4 million.
67Alex OkaforEdgeSaints27486Was on track to potentially have a career year but a late Achilles ended his chances. If teams think he is healthy he should double his salary from last year.
68Taylor GabrielWRFalcons27508Bit of a niche player that didn’t stand out enough this year to move into the 2nd WR tier, but should be in the 3rd tier of players.
69Marcus GilchristSTexans30817Did enough this past season to remove stigma of Jets years and move back into solid veteran money.
70Zach BrownLBRedskins29834Not a lot of interest last year at a big money number and cant see anything this year that will change that.
71Jerick McKinnonRBVikings26528Good receiever and receiving skills are always sought after and paid for in free agency.
72Anthony HitchensLBCowboys26547Flashes at times and that could push his price up a little but should settle in the $4 to $5 million range.
73Zach FultonG/CChiefs27794Utility interior lineman that should be an affordable part of a good line.
74Justin EllisDTRaiders28462This the price range for most interior players who can log 40% playtime.
75Demario DavisLBJets291118Good season in his return to the Jets, but its hard to picture any more interest than when he was a free agent a few years back.
76Antonio GatesTEChargers38500Nearing the end of his career but can still fill a role for a team if he doesn’t call it quits.
77Julius PeppersEdgePanthers38500Can still dominate in the pass rush and is worth more, but he signed in this range last year and given his age expect it to be the same.
78Todd DavisLBBroncos26522Good run defender in the Broncos defense. Probably doesn’t do enough other things to have big value elsewhere.
79Albert WilsonWRChiefs26538Had a big standout game at the end of the season, but overall has been too inconsistent to earn more than 3/4 money.
80Tyler EifertTEBengals28104$8 million talent in an $8 body. Hasn’t been able to hold up to NFL grind and its only his talent level that will have a team take a risk for more than the minimum.
81Rashaan MelvinCBColts29552Had best season of his career, but only 10 games and has already bounced around the NFL.
82Spencer LongCRedskins28394Injury kept him from enhancing status but he should be able to break out from the $3M and under players.
83Nickell Robey-ColemanCBRams26658Decent 3rd or 4th corner whose salary is probably a bit compromised based on prior contracts.
84Connor BarwinEdgeRams32659Since this is not a big year for free agent rushers expect Barwin to sign a similar one year contract for a team needing a steady presence.
85Kareem MartinEdgeCardinals26458Intriguing prospect is only 26 and could find a team to gamble in the $3M tier for a season.
86Beau AllenDTEagles27422Didn’t have the kind of year he needed to make a free agent splash, but he still plays a role that is valuable around the league.
87William HayesEdgeDolphins33274Struggled in Miami but probably has enough name value to get a one year deal in the $3 million tier but with a low guarantee.
88Barkevious MingoEdgeColts28501Mingo is pretty much settled into this group now as a part time jack of all trades but with a very limited upside.
89Dontrelle InmanWRBears29457I could see him moving up a tier but nothing stands out enough for me to really justify it.
90Terrelle PryorWRRedskins29378Awful season and his expectations are going to be terribly low this year as he takes another one year contract to try to salvage his career.
91Ryan FitzpatrickQBBuccaneers36299Probably the top rated backup available.
92Bradley McDougaldSSeahawks28681Think he is worth more than this but something turned teams off last season and has that really changed?
93Tramon WilliamsCBCardinals35670Veteran had a good season last year which should set him up for a 3rd corner kind of contract.
94Haloti NgataDTLions34145No idea if Ngata wants to keep playing for a low price but expect a $3 millionish base value with incentives based on playtim.
95Jaron BrownWRCardinals28415May draw more interest than this based on skillset but hard to picture a team really going in too deep.
96Kendall WrightWRBears29580Should find a home as a third target on a team with a bad or young group of receivers.
97Erik WaldenEdgeTitans33581Veteran that can still rush the passer a bit should find a home on a pass rush needed team.
98Terrence NewmanCBVikings40560Ageless player seemingly signs almost the same contract every season.
99Brandon FuscoG49ers301088End of stay with the Vikings probably damaged him too much but should be a cheaper option to plug in on a good line and he wont hurt you.
100Ryan GrantWRRedskins28616Does just enough to have a role for a team but not enough for a team to overreach on him.