NOTE: Tomorrow (Thursday, March 19) at approximately 9:30-10:00 PM ET, I’ll be joining Jason on Twitter to answer any questions about the compensatory picks (either 2015 or 2016) for those who prefer to tweet. Any questions specific to that subject should be tweeted @nickkorte.
Sometime during the NFL’s Annual Meeting next week (probably on Monday), the official announcement of the 2015 compensatory draft picks will be released. It will be that moment when we can finally see how well both my program and my human analysis did in projecting things correctly. The immediate goal will then be to reflect on the official results, and to see how future projections for 2016 and beyond can be improved.
As I have said several times, I do not anticipate that the program will exactly get all 32 picks correct. I do, however, have a more reasonable goal of having any picks that the program missed to be explained by the possible alternating scenarios that I listed out in my written-form projection. You may view that post here to get more detailed information.
I do think it would be instructive before the official announcement to show the confidence levels that I have in the picks that will be awarded. Some I feel quite confident in, such as the very first compensatory pick that will almost certainly be a 3rd round pick to New England for Aqib Talib (those will be highlighted in green). There are others I feel will be awarded but may be off by a round due to missing the cutoffs too far or from improper cancellations (those will be highlighted in yellow). And there are projected picks that may not be awarded at all due to lack of qualification and/or improper cancellations (those will be highlighted in red). Finally, in this table I have also included potential picks that the program is not awarding but very well could be earned if the official awarding differs (those will be highlighted in blue). On that last category, if you’re a Steelers or Panthers fan this is the color you’ll really want to pay attention to.
For one last fun fact regarding this year’s compensatory picks, a tweet by Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (who cited OTC earlier this year) has been making the rounds. The observation is that despite the fact that Michael Johnson re-signed with the Bengals recently after being cut by Tampa Bay, Cincinnati will still get a 3rd round comp pick in 2015 for losing him last year, even though it was just for one season. That’s about the happiest resolution you could imagine for a free agent if you’re the Bengals.
In case you’re curious, this isn’t the first time this has happened to this magnitude. In 2005, Denver was awarded a 3rd round comp pick for losing Ian Gold in 2004, despite the fact that he was brought back to the Broncos after being cut by…you guessed it, Tampa Bay. If Bucs fans are feeling a bit down on this, you might be interested to know that the Broncos wasted that pick on Maurice Clarett. Hopefully the Bengals have much better luck with their upcoming 3rd round compensatory pick.
To wrap up the 2015 commentary before the fact, I’d like to thank everyone for the interest they have shown in the program and articles have created on the subject. In seeing the reaction, I’m starting to feel a small shift away from how fans are approaching the free agency period. Traditionally, fans get excited when their team signs a big name to big money, and frustrated when their team seemingly “does nothing” and let their own players walk to other teams. But I think more and more fans are starting to realize the fool’s gold nature that free agency can be. The recent purging of big contracts in Miami and Tampa Bay will certainly go down as major warnings in that regard. Meanwhile, interest in compensatory picks has grown, and I hope that I’ve been a positive influence in that regard. Ravens and Packers fans have known the benefits of using the formula for quite some time, but other fanbases are hopping on. Seahawks and 49ers fans are particularly notable, but it’s not limited there. As a Broncos fan I can sense the interest there as well.
Peter King summed up the above paragraph well with his article yesterday entitled “How To Win Free Agency: Don’t Play”. That headline immediately made me think of the conclusion to an excellent movie, of which I have photoshopped the final scene to make it relevant to this subject matter: