Evaluation of the 2022 Compensatory Picks Projection

The 2022 compensatory draft picks were released today. As always, upon seeing the official release it’s proper to judge how my projection did against it.

TeamRdCompensated Departure
DET3Kenny Golladay
NO3Trey Hendrickson
PIT4Bud Dupree
BAL4Matt Judon
GB4Corey Linsley
BAL4Yannick Ngakoue
LAR4John Johnson
TEN4Corey Davis
DAL5Andy Dalton
DET5Marvin Jones
DAL5Chidobe Awuzie
IND5Denico Autry
LAR6Gerald Everett
LAR6Samson Ebukam
ATL6Alex Mack
LAC6Tyrod Taylor
ARI6Kenyan Drake
IND6Jacoby Brissett
DET6Jarrad Davis
LAR6Troy Hill
TEN6DaQuan Jones
SF6Solomon Thomas
SF6Kerry Hyder
LAC7Denzel Perryman
LAC7Dan Feeney
ARI7Dan Arnold
ARI7Angelo Blackson
GB7Jamaal Williams
KC7Damien Wilson
LAC7Sam Tevi
TB7Joe Haeg
SF7C.J. Beathard
Over 32-pick limit; not awarded
KC7Tanoh Kpassagnon

Highlighted in green, I got 27 of 32 comp picks correct with the correct player and the correct round.

Highlighted in yellow, there were 3 comp picks that I had the correct player for, but was off by one round. One of those missed picks was the Saints’ pick for Trey Hendrickson’s departure, of which New Orleans received a 3rd for instead of a 4th. While this is good luck for the Saints, it’s also very bad luck for the Steelers and Ravens to only get 4th rounders for the departures of Bud Dupree and Matt Judon, as a very narrow needle had to be threaded for the result from these three players’ contracts. OTC’s program had Hendrickson and Dupree right next to each other, with Judon not too far behind, as follows:

The program was also slightly off on the 6th/7th round cutoff. This miss was to the benefit of San Francisco, as two picks of theirs that were projected to be 7th rounders instead ended up being 6th rounders. This miss was aggravated by omissions I had in incentives that the two players in question, Solomon Thomas and Kerry Hyder, earned for their new teams.

Highlighted in red, there were 2 comp picks I was wrong on and did not reasonably anticipate.

The first is that Xavier Woods qualified as a compensatory free agent in favor of Dallas. I had erroneously given Woods’s contract an automatic disqualification from CFA status, since he had signed for what I thought was one year for only $1.75 million. However, I did not know that Woods also had up to $500,000 in incentives in his contract. He earned half of those incentives by playing at least 90% of the snaps. In fact, he was the only defensive player in the entire league to play every single snap last season. Combine the incentive boost of $250,000 with the snap count boost of 100 points, and his contract quite easily qualified for CFA status. That was great news for Dallas, who earned another CFA lost in their ledger, and it opened up an additional 5th rounder for the departure of Chidobe Awuzie.

The second is that Tanoh Kpassagnon qualified as a CFA, even though three other players that had comp pick implications (John Ross, Justin Hardee, and Kevin Johnson) did not, despite having the same APY as Kpassagnon ($2.25 million) and no snap count boost. Once again, I missed a key detail on incentives; although Kpassagnon did not have any incentives in his contract for 2021, he did in 2022–and since he earned four sacks in 2021, $150,000 of those pending 2022 incentives became Likely To Be Earned, per changes in the 2020 CBA, and that boosted his APY just enough to qualify his contract for CFA status.

Once again, this qualification cutoff was a narrow needle to thread, and it proved unlucky for the Bengals, who lost out on a 4th round pick for the departure of Carl Lawson. And it was brutally unlucky for the Saints, who would have gotten a 6th rounder for the departure of Sheldon Rankins had either Kpassagnon and Hardee both qualified, or if they both did not qualify. But Kpassagnon qualifying but Hardee not qualifying was the worst case scenario for this pick. (As an aside, Kpassagnon’s contract qualifying did make Kansas City eligible for a second 7th rounder for his departure, but that pick did not make the 32 pick limit.)

Here’s how OTC’s program now sees these players with respect to the qualification cutoff.

The clear lesson for me in projecting future compensatory picks under the 2020 CBA is that I need to be more careful to account for incentives that were either earned or future ones that become Likely To Be Earned. In addition to the consequential misses in this regard with Woods, Kpassagnon, Hyder, and Thomas, there were also a couple other players where I had missed boosting their APYs in order to get the order of the comp picks correctly, even if those picks still ended up being projected in the correct round.