Projecting The 2018 Compensatory Picks

This article refers specifically to OTC’s projection for the 2018 NFL Draft’s compensatory picks. For details on the basics and methodology of projecting compensatory picks in general, please reference this article.

To understand how this projection is generated for each team, please reference the compensatory picks cancellation charts here.

The Projection

Team Rd Compensated Free Agent APY Snaps Rank
ARI 3 Calais Campbell $15,000,000 77.4% 18
HOU 3 A.J. Bouye $13,500,000 97.4% 28
CIN 3 Kevin Zeitler $12,000,000 100.0% 31
DEN 3 Russell Okung $13,250,000 87.1% 37
GB 3 T.J. Lang $9,500,000 77.4% 88
BAL 3 Ricky Wagner $9,500,000 75.9% 89
ARI 4 Tony Jefferson $8,500,000 99.1% 103
NE 4 Jabaal Sheard $8,500,000 83.4% 119
NYG 4 Johnathan Hankins $9,000,000 63.6% 127
DAL 4 Ronald Leary $8,925,000 63.0% 133
DAL 4 Barry Church $6,500,000 95.0% 188
CIN 5 Andrew Whitworth $11,250,000 88.8% 32
GB 5 Micah Hyde $6,000,000 96.1% 222
DAL 5 Brandon Carr $6,000,000 93.5% 228
GB 5 J.C. Tretter $5,583,333 100.0% 245
DAL 5 Morris Claiborne $5,000,000 82.2% 286
GB 5 Jared Cook $5,000,000 78.6% 288
OAK 6 Latavius Murray $4,900,000 37.7% 330
KC 6 Nick Foles $5,500,000 18.7% 333
HOU 6 John Simon $4,666,667 43.5% 336
OAK 6 Malcolm Smith $5,250,000 0.1% 344
MIN 6 Cordarrelle Patterson $4,000,000 42.5% 380
HOU 6 Quintin Demps $4,406,250 16.7% 399
OAK 6 D.J. Hayden $3,500,000 44.8% 431
MIN 6 Adrian Peterson $3,500,000 29.0% 451
OAK 6 Nate Allen $3,400,000 34.3% 456
LAC 7 Manti Te’o $2,450,000 47.4% 587
CIN 7 Margus Hunt $2,050,000 53.7% 620
CIN 7 Karlos Dansby $1,900,000 86.9% 625
ARI 7 Alex Okafor $1,935,000 45.8% 651
TB 7 Bradley McDougald $1,800,000 61.7% 660
ATL 7 Tom Compton $1,850,000 34.5% 673
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
BAL 7 Vladimir Ducasse $1,166,667 75.7% 787
NYG 7 Coty Sensabaugh $1,300,000 24.5% 813
ATL 7 Eric Weems $1,300,000 1.5% 815
NE 7 LeGarrette Blount $1,200,000 31.2% 817
HOU 7 Don Jones $1,100,000 0.1% 894

Note that although there are 37 eligible compensatory picks listed in this projection, each year only exactly 32 picks are awarded. Therefore, the picks that rank 33rd and lower are not awarded, although the official release will typically acknowledge their presence, as this list does with strikethrough text.

Compensatory picks became tradeable beginning with the 2017 NFL Draft. However, unlike last year when teams had four deals in place that potentially involved comp picks even before they were officially announced, this year I have not identified any trades involving comp picks as of the publication of this article. If last year is any indication, I expect the official release to come out on February 23, the Friday before the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. This strikes me as a very sensible time to announce the compensatory picks, as it allows executives at the Combine to discuss possible trades with full knowledge of their draft capital.

Cutoff Projections

It was suggested via the resolution allowing comp picks to be traded on December 2, 2015 that the cutoffs between each rounds and whether or not a player had an APY high enough to qualify was determined by a “rank[ing] against all players in the League who are on rosters at the end of the season”. I have conjectured from this evidence that the cutoffs are based on a percentile system. After refining the OTC’s program following the official release of the 2017 compensatory picks, it’s my guess that the percentiles operate on even percentages divisible by five, as illustrated in the table below.

At the end of the 2017 regular season, OTC’s database identified a total of 1933 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists, and had also played in at least 10 games during the 2017 regular season. As explained in the general methodology in the previous link, the cutoffs for each round and for qualifying as a compensatory free agent (CFA) have been established by this projection on certain percentile ranks of all players on the active roster and reserve lists at the end of the regular season, sorted by APY adjusted for snap counts in descending order and also represented by the player at the cutoff point. For 2017, these cutoffs are as follows:

Round Percentile Overall Rank Representative Player
3rd/4th 95th (top 5%) 97 Kam Chancellor
4th/5th 90th (top 10%) 193 Dwayne Allen
5th/6th 85th (top 15%) 290 Jeremy Maclin
6th/7th 75th (top 25%) 483 Chris Thompson
7th/Qualify 50th (top 50%) 967 Keith Tandy

Players On The Cutoff Bubbles

While it is my hope that my projection of where the cutoffs lie is correct, there is enough of a margin of error that the players that are very close to them may fall on the opposite side of where I have them projected. In most cases, if I’m wrong it means that the team in question will still get a comp pick for that player, but that it may be in a round higher or lower. But in a few cases (those are bolded), it could change cancellations, possibly taking away or greatly devaluing a projected comp pick—or possibly adding or greatly upgrading a comp pick.


  • TJ Lang (Green Bay): #88
  • Ricky Wagner (Baltimore): #89
  • Projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #97
  • Tony Jefferson (Arizona): #103
  • Jabaal Sheard (New England): #119
  • Johnathan Hankins (New York Giants): #127
  • Ron Leary (Dallas): #133


  • Barry Church (Dallas): #188
  • Projected 4th/5th cutoff: #193


  • Menelik Watson (Oakland): #276
  • Jared Cook (Green Bay): #288
  • Projected 5th/6th cutoff: #290
  • DJ Swearinger (Arizona): #298


  • Projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #483
  • Akeem Spence (Tampa Bay): #484
  • Kevin Minter (Arizona): #506
  • JJ Wilcox (Dallas): #513


  • None

Qualifying/Valuation Questions

This year, there are multiple special cases and questions to address.

  • One very notable case that can be observed in looking at the APY order is that despite signing an $11.25 million APY deal and being named both to the Pro Bowl and as an All-Pro, Andrew Whitworth is projected to award the Bengals with only a 5th round comp pick instead of a 3rd. This is due to what I call the Alan Faneca rule, a rule that declares that any player with ten or more accrued seasons (Whitworth had 11 when he signed with the Rams) may yield only a 5th round pick as a maximum. For Bengals fans disappointed to see this, a silver lining is that their archrival Steelers were the ones first blindsided by this rule, thinking they were going to get a 3rd for losing Faneca in 2009.
  • There were two potential CFAs that were traded during the first year of their contracts. After leaving Dallas for Tampa Bay, JJ Wilcox was traded to Pittsburgh. After leaving Minnesota for New Orleans, Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona. It is well established that if a team trades for a CFA, that team is also charged with gaining that CFA in the comp pick formula. (Hence why the Patriots did not want to include Brian Hoyer in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.) What is not known is whether the team that trades away the CFA is relieved from that charge of a CFA gained. This aspect is not relevant for Peterson and the Saints, as New Orleans (as usual) is not projected to receive any compensatory picks anyway. But it is relevant for Wilcox and the Bucs. I am guessing that because that this relief would allow a team to double dip on draft picks, Wilcox will still count as a CFA gained against Tampa Bay. But I could be wrong, and if I am, the Bucs will gain an additional comp pick.
  • Peterson’s case also has an additional complicating factor other than just being traded. He became a UFA in 2017 after renegotiating his contract in 2015 to include a possible shortening of the original deal via a team option on his 2017 year. The Vikings declined that option, and Peterson was no longer under contract. It is known that contracts that are shortened through renegotiation via a player option disqualify that player from becoming a CFA. But it is not known whether the same rule applies to team options. A clue toward this answer may have come when, for the first time ever when the NFL issued its annual official release of free agents, it marked a small number of players as “non-compensable unrestricted free agent[s]”. Peterson was not one of these players. For this reason, I’m guessing that Peterson will qualify. But again, I could be wrong, and if I am, that will impact comp picks for both Minnesota and Arizona.
  • Finally, for the first time ever (as far as I can tell), a CFA that was cut before Week 10 was claimed off waivers. The window for this possibility is very narrow, as it can only happen in the two weeks between the trade deadline of Week 8 and the comp pick cutoff mark of Week 10. But that’s what happened when Green Bay cut Martellus Bennett after Week 9, and was then claimed by New England—the very team that lost Bennett in free agency. Suffice to say, these circumstances are highly unusual. Does the Week 10 rule still apply to players claimed on waivers? If not, are the Packers still charged with a CFA gained even if they’re relieved from a contract that’s still active? Are the Patriots charged with a CFA gained as well—and if so, does that mean Bennett cancels himself out in the Patriots’ ledger? Because the Patriots are very knowledgeable and mindful about comp picks, it’s reasonable to guess that New England may have asked for a clarification on Bennett’s status before issuing a waiver claim for him. To keep it simple I’m guessing that Bennett will not qualify. But I have low confidence in that guess, and if I’m wrong, it could possibly complicate comp picks for both Green Bay and New England.

Possible Altering Scenarios

  • Arizona
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify, Arizona will get a 6th for Marcus Cooper.
    • If Kevin Minter is valued as a 6th, Arizona will get a 6th for him instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
    • If DJ Swearinger is valued as a 5th, Arizona will get a 5th for him instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify and DJ Swearinger is valued as a 5th, Arizona will get a 5th for Swearinger and a 6th or 7th for Kevin Minter instead of a 7th for Alex Okafor.
  • Denver
    • If Ron Leary is valued as a 3rd, Denver will get a 7th for Dekoda Watson instead of a 3rd for Russell Okung.
  • Green Bay
    • If Martellus Bennett qualifies, Green Bay will get a 6th for Eddie Lacy instead of a 5th for Micah Hyde.
  • Minnesota
    • If Adrian Peterson does not qualify, Minnesota will not get a 6th for him.
  • New England
    • If Martellus Bennett qualifies but is not charged as a CFA gained against them, New England will get a 5th for him.
  • Oakland
    • If Menelik Watson is valued as a 5th and Jared Cook is valued as a 6th, Oakland will get a 5th for Watson instead of a 6th for Latavius Murray.
  • Tampa Bay
    • If JJ Wilcox is not charged as a CFA gained against them, Tampa Bay will get a 6th or 7th for Akeem Spence.
    • If JJ Wilcox is charged as a CFA gained against them, he is valued as a 7th, and Akeem Spence is valued as a 6th, Tampa Bay will get a 6th for Spence instead of a 7th for Bradley McDougald.