Last Friday, Lions GM Bob Quinn observed the heightened challenges that undrafted free agents (UDFAs) will face this offseason due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Quinn also observed that his team will likely not have a huge number of UDFAs due to already having 78 players on the roster. Combine that with the nine draft pick the Lions currently hold, and it’s easy to do the math to see why Quinn comes to that prediction.
After reading that, I decided it would easy enough to calculate estimations on the number of UDFA signings for all 32 teams. The table below and to the left has very simple math: take the sum of current rostered players as estimated by OTC and draft picks each team holds, and subtract that from 90 to provide the estimated UDFA signings each team could make.
|Team||Current Rostered Players||Current # Of Draft Picks||Estimated UDFA Signings|
Now, obviously these estimates will not be exact. Numerous trades will be executed during the draft that will change these numbers. Teams may also terminate the contracts of some currently rostered players to make room for more UDFAs than they currently have available. Nonetheless, these estimates can provide us some insight on what teams may be planning for UDFAs, both during and after the draft.
Teams With High Estimated UDFA Signings
- By definition, these teams will have more roster space to sign higher numbers of UDFAs if they so choose.
- However, there is a tradeoff: because Art. 7, §1(i) of the CBA greatly limits the amount of signing bonus money that may be offered to all UDFAs, that means that they may need to individually offer less signing bonus money to each UDFA if they spread out their pool. This could limit their ability to include high priority UDFAs among their rookie class.
- These teams may also be candidates to trade down within the 2020 NFL Draft, in order to get more drafted players to fill out the roster.
Teams With Low Estimated UDFA Signings
- Conversely by definition, these teams currently have limited roster space to sign UDFAs.
- Also conversely, by signing fewer UDFAs, these teams may have a positive tradeoff by being able to offer those fewer UDFAs more signing bonus money. This could give them an advantage in outbidding other teams for high priority UDFAs
- These teams may also be candidates to either trade up, or trade picks in the 2020 NFL Draft for ones in 2021 or later, so they don’t risk having to cut drafted rookies after training camp and the preseason.
- Current fringe roster players on these teams may also be at a higher risk of being cut once the draft is over and terms have been agreed upon with UDFAs.