This article refers specifically to OTC’s final projection for the 2022 NFL Draft’s compensatory picks. For details on the basics and methodology of projecting compensatory picks in general, please reference this article. Note that this projection does not include compensatory picks awarded via 2020 Resolution JC-2A.
To understand how this projection is generated for each team, please reference the compensatory picks cancellation charts here.
This draft, I am projecting that there will be exactly 32 regular compensatory picks generated. There is a chance that there could be more than 32, but any picks that rank 33rd and lower are not awarded, although the official release will typically acknowledge presence of any comp picks in excess of 32. I do not expect fewer than 32 regular compensatory picks to be generated, but if that happens, the NFL Management council will add supplementary 7th round compensatory picks to get to 32, in the order of what would be the eighth round. This draft, the first five teams in order for that would be Jacksonville, Detroit, the New York Jets, the New York Giants, and Houston.
Typically, the official release comes out on the Friday before the NFL Scouting Combine. This year, that is scheduled for March 1-7, so the Friday before would be February 25. However, because the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could still result in different operations than usual for the Combine, there still may be low reliance on that precise date, particularly if there is little to no attendance by NFL executives and player agents. The range of the release could be anywhere after the Super Bowl (February 13) but before the start of free agency (March 16).
The most difficult part of projecting the compensatory picks is accurately identifying where the cutoffs lie between each rounds, and where the cutoff for qualifying as a Compensatory Free Agent (CFA) is. That is because the larger subset of the leaguewide players of which the smaller subset of compensatory free agents are judged against is never the same size, and requires accurately tracking roster transactions for thousands of players–a feat that will always have a margin of error.
The key number that determines these cutoffs is, per Appendix V, Paragraph 2(a) of the CBA, is the number of “all other League players on rosters at the conclusion of the regular season”. This draft, I will be attempting a different way to project this number. In the past, I would use OTC’s database to attempt to identify this number, and this time, it identified 2,133 players that were either on the active roster or reserve lists. However, it identified a similar number last year, and that number ended up being nowhere close to what it had to have been to meld OTC’s program with the actual results.
Although I will still list out scenarios that could result if the number is closer to 2,133, instead for this projection I will be using an average of the estimated number of leaguewide players in previous sets of compensatory picks, dating back to 2014. This average comes out to 1,976. If that number is closer to accurate, here is where the cutoffs would lie:
|Round||Percentile||Overall Rank||Representative Player|
|3rd/4th||95th (top 5%)||98||Eddie Jackson|
|4th/5th||90th (top 10%)||197||Brandon Linder|
|5th/6th||85th (top 15%)||296||Eric Murray|
|6th/7th||75th (top 25%)||494||Mario Edwards, Jr.|
|7th/Qualify||65th (top 35%)||691||Cornelius Lucas|
However, if the number is closer to the number of 2,133 that OTC’s database suggests, the cutoffs would look closer like this:
|Round||Percentile||Overall Rank||Representative Player|
|3rd/4th||95th (top 5%)||106||Bud Dupree|
|4th/5th||90th (top 10%)||213||Stephon Tuitt|
|5th/6th||85th (top 15%)||319||Quenton Nelson|
|6th/7th||75th (top 25%)||533||Jalen Richard|
|7th/Qualify||65th (top 35%)||746||Nick Folk|
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 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.
- Higher projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #98
- Trey Hendrickson (New Orleans): #104
- Bud Dupree (Pittsburgh): #106
- Lower projected 3rd/4th cutoff: #106
- Matt Judon (Baltimore): #109
- Higher projected 4th/5th cutoff: #197
- Lower projected 4th/5th cutoff: #213
- Rayshawn Jenkins (Los Angeles Chargers): #219
- A.J. Green (Cincinnati): #289
- Higher projected 5th/6th cutoff: #296
- Haason Reddick (Arizona): #301
- Gerald Everett (Los Angeles Rams): #307
- Lower projected 5th/6th cutoff: #319
- Higher projected 6th/7th cutoff: #494
- Solomon Thomas (San Francisco): #528
- Denzel Perryman (Los Angeles Chargers): #531
- Dan Feeney (Los Angeles Chargers): #532
- Lower projected 6th/7th cutoff: #533
- Kerry Hyder (San Francisco): #535
- Damien Wilson (Kansas City): #665
- Joe Haeg (Tampa Bay): #668
- Nick Vigil (Los Angeles Chargers): #689
- Higher projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #691
- Tanoh Kpassagnon (Kansas City): #700
- John Ross (Cincinnati): #701
- Justin Hardee (New Orleans): #702
- Kevin Johnson (Houston): #703
- Matt Haack (Miami): #715
- Lower projected 7th/Qualifying cutoff: #746
This draft, by far the most consequential close calls are all bunched together right at the cutoff as to whether contracts will qualify players to become CFAs. In particular, there are four players whose contracts should all be valued equally in the compensatory formula. All four of those players–Tanoh Kpassagnon, John Ross, Justin Hardee, and Kevin Johnson–signed for the same APY, $2.25 million, and none of them were able to play the minimum amount of 25% of the regular season snaps on offense or defense to get a snap count boost in the formula. Therefore, either all four of these players will qualify, or they will not.
Of these four, Hardee is the least consequential, and there should be no consequence to New Orleans: either both of the contracts of Hardee (CFA lost) and Kpassagnon (CFA signed) will qualify, and thus cancel each other out, or both won’t, thus being disregarded, and still keeping their projected 6th round comp pick intact either way. Kpassgnon’s qualification is of minimal consequence to Kansas City, as they would either get a late 7th for his departure or they wouldn’t.
But the two teams that this group of players are more consequential for are Cincinnati and Tennessee. For the Bengals that consequence is high: without Ross’s contract qualifying in their favor, they would have an equal number of CFAs lost and signed, and get no comp picks at all. They need Ross in their cancellation chart in order to open up a potential 4th round comp pick. Inversely, the Titans do not want Johnson’s contract to qualify against them–otherwise they will see a potential 6th round comp pick cancelled out.
There is also a unique circumstance with Kevin Johnson–despite signing that contract with the Titans on March 22, Johnson opted to retire on June 4. I have not seen an example in the past of how the compensatory formula treats retirements of CFAs that do not play a down in the regular season. Because Appendix V does not explicitly have a rule on retired players, I am projecting that the formula will treat Johnson normally and possibly qualify his contract for CFA status. But I could easily be wrong, as it would be rough on the Titans to lose a 6th round pick due to a player that left the team before even training camp started.
At both extremes of the margin of error projected here also contain consequential qualification questions. Joe Haeg, who barely got a snap count boost by playing 26.2%, may have cost the Steelers an additional 5th round comp pick, while Matt Haack, if the qualification cutoff is generous enough, could get Miami on the board with a 5th rounder of their own.
Finally, keep an eye on whether Nick Vigil’s contract qualifies. Playing 59.5% of the snaps, and earning $250,000 in incentives based upon that playtime, may have done the trick. This will mean nothing for the Los Angeles Chargers, as they are projected to already get the maximum number of four comp picks without Vigil’s assistance, but if he qualifies, he should be listed in the official release as a CFA lost for the Chargers, perhaps giving some guidance as to where that qualification cutoff lies.
Beyond the qualifying cutoff, the other consequential cutoff lies at the 5th/6th round, and it is particularly so for Arizona, who are projected under their worst case scenario of a 6th and two 7th rounders. But depending on where that cutoff lies, there could be a best case scenario for them of two 5th rounders and a 7th rounder.
Possible Altering Scenarios
- If the contracts of both A.J. Green and Haason Reddick are valued in the 5th round, Arizona will get a 5th for Reddick instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake.
- If the contracts of both A.J. Green and Haason Reddick are valued in the 6th round, Arizona will get a higher 5th for Patrick Peterson instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake.
- If Haason Reddick’s contract is valued in the 5th round and A.J. Green’s contract in the 6th round, Arizona will get two 5ths for Patrick Peterson and Reddick instead of a 6th for Kenyan Drake and a 7th for Dan Arnold.
- If John Ross qualifies, Cincinnati will get a 4th for Carl Lawson.
- Kansas City
- If Damien Wilson does not qualify, Kansas City will not get a 7th for his departure.
- If Tanoh Kpassagnon qualifies, Kansas City will be eligible for a 7th for his departure, but that pick may not make the 32-pick limit.
- Los Angeles Chargers
- If Rayshawn Jenkins’s contract is valued in the 4th round, the Los Angeles Chargers will get a 4th for him instead of a 6th for Tyrod Taylor.
- If Matt Haack qualifies, Miami will get a 5th for Davon Godchaux.
- If Joe Haeg does not qualify, Pittsburgh will get a 5th for Matt Feiler.
- Tampa Bay
- If Joe Haeg does not qualify, Tampa Bay will not get a 7th for his departure.
- If Kevin Johnson qualifies, Tennessee will not get a 6th for DaQuan Jones.