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

TeamRdCompensated Free AgentAPYSnapsRank
ARI3Calais Campbell$15,000,00077.4%18
HOU3A.J. Bouye$13,500,00097.4%28
CIN3Kevin Zeitler$12,000,000100.0%31
DEN3Russell Okung$13,250,00087.1%37
GB3T.J. Lang$9,500,00077.4%88
BAL3Ricky Wagner$9,500,00075.9%89
ARI4Tony Jefferson$8,500,00099.1%103
NE4Jabaal Sheard$8,500,00083.4%119
NYG4Johnathan Hankins$9,000,00063.6%127
DAL4Ronald Leary$8,925,00063.0%133
DAL4Barry Church$6,500,00095.0%188
CIN5Andrew Whitworth$11,250,00088.8%32
GB5Micah Hyde$6,000,00096.1%222
DAL5Brandon Carr$6,000,00093.5%228
GB5J.C. Tretter$5,583,333100.0%245
DAL5Morris Claiborne$5,000,00082.2%286
GB5Jared Cook$5,000,00078.6%288
OAK6Latavius Murray$4,900,00037.7%330
KC6Nick Foles$5,500,00018.7%333
HOU6John Simon$4,666,66743.5%336
OAK6Malcolm Smith$5,250,0000.1%344
MIN6Cordarrelle Patterson$4,000,00042.5%380
HOU6Quintin Demps$4,406,25016.7%399
OAK6D.J. Hayden$3,500,00044.8%431
MIN6Adrian Peterson$3,500,00029.0%451
OAK6Nate Allen$3,400,00034.3%456
LAC7Manti Te’o$2,450,00047.4%587
CIN7Margus Hunt$2,050,00053.7%620
CIN7Karlos Dansby$1,900,00086.9%625
ARI7Alex Okafor$1,935,00045.8%651
TB7Bradley McDougald$1,800,00061.7%660
ATL7Tom Compton$1,850,00034.5%673
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
BAL7Vladimir Ducasse$1,166,66775.7%787
NYG7Coty Sensabaugh$1,300,00024.5%813
ATL7Eric Weems$1,300,0001.5%815
NE7LeGarrette Blount$1,200,00031.2%817
HOU7Don Jones$1,100,0000.1%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:

RoundPercentileOverall RankRepresentative Player
3rd/4th95th (top 5%)97Kam Chancellor
4th/5th90th (top 10%)193Dwayne Allen
5th/6th85th (top 15%)290Jeremy Maclin
6th/7th75th (top 25%)483Chris Thompson
7th/Qualify50th (top 50%)967Keith 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.

3rd/4th

  • 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

4th/5th

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

5th/6th

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

6th/7th

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

7th/Qualifying

  • 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.
  • Nelson Cobb

    Why would Martellus Bennett qualify?? Packers released him before the cutoff, so why would there be a chance of him qualifying??