On Monday, the NFL announced compensatory pick distribution. The Eagles did not receive any compensatory picks, as expected. They will likely not receive any compensatory picks next year as well, as they've signed more free agents during the current free agent period than they've lost. Here are the teams who were awarded extra picks:
The Ravens and Jets both received 4 extra picks, while the Falcons, Cowboys, Texans, Steelers and Rams all received 3 extra picks.
From the Eagles' perspective, it is noteworthy that the Jets received 4 extra picks. The Jets received an extra 4th round pick, and 3 extra 6th round picks. While compensatory picks cannot be traded, having those extra picks might make the Jets feel more comfortable dealing one of their own original picks for, saaaay, DeSean Jackson? Jets owner Woody Johnson is already on record saying that the Jets have interest in Jackson.
Every year, my friend Craig Turner (@ct17draftnut) projects compensatory pick distribution. He has become something of the world's preeminent compensatory pick predictor. The original comp pick expert was a guy on the internet known only at AdamJT13, who has since gone silent. Turner is sort of like the Lebron James to AdamJT13's Michael Jordan, and both have Twitter handles including a number in the teens and some initials. That appears to be a requirement to become a world class comp pick predictor.
Craig made his predictions back in February, and this was his most accurate year yet. Craig did some self-scouting of his work:
This year I can say I did not disappoint many fans, as all of the picks above the 6th round that I predicted were awarded to those teams, and in a number of cases a higher pick was awarded. The two 5th round picks that I predicted for Houston became a 4th and a 6th, but I think that works out better for them. I correctly awarded picks for 27 players. In that group, 19 were placed in the correct round. The remainder were off by one round, with 7 players going a round higher than predicted and 1 pick going lower. This is due to the NFL lowering the threshold for higher-level picks.
The greatest change this year in the awarding of compensatory picks is that the average salary ranges for each round were lowered. Baltimore and San Francisco received highly coveted 3rd rounders, while Minnesota did not receive a 3rd for Sidney Rice at the same price in 2012. Last year Miami got a 5th for losing Kendall Langford at $6.0 million per year. Atlanta got a 4th this year for losing Brent Grimes at $5.5 million per year. Green Bay will get a 5th for losing Erik Walden at $4 million per year, which is lower than the 5th round floor has been for a number of years. Meanwhile, Houston lost Glover Quin on a $4.7 million per year contract, but they are only receiving a 6th. Last year the 7th round ceiling rose to $3 million per year for the first time ever. This year Bradley Fletcher and Rashard Mendenhall were below that number but were still awarded 6th rounders.
The average salary floor for qualifying players remained the same, which greatly aided the accuracy in predicting which teams would receive picks. Starters making above $700,000, role players making above $750,000, and any players making above $800,000 were counted in the calculations.
The highest pick that I missed on was a 4th for Cliff Avril. This pick was missed because I did not count Drayton Florence as a qualifying player. Florence was signed away from the Lions by the Panthers but was cut in the final roster cuts. He was then signed back by the Panthers three weeks later. While it has long been documented that players becoming unrestricted free agents before midseason no longer qualify for comp picks, it appears that there is an exception when the original signing team reestablishes control of the player. I also missed a 4th round pick for New England. In my calculations I had the signing of Amendola canceling out the loss of Welker, with a comp pick awarded for Patrick Chung. The NFL placed Welker on a higher level and awarded the pick for him.
Two picks were affected by situations that I had discussed but had guessed wrong. St. Louis lost a pick when Steven Jackson was not counted as a player lost. The reason why is that his option year was created by a contract renegotiation in 2013. A similar contract change affected Cincinnati and Laveranues Coles a few years ago. The other change involved guessing which players canceled each other out for Pittsburgh. Since Mendenhall was given a 6th round value, they went from an unawarded 7th round pick for Mundy to the last 6throunder. The last pick that I missed was the very last one in the draft, which went to Houston for losing Donnie Jones instead of to Cincinnati for losing Bruce Gradkowski.
There were two other items of note that did not affect awarded picks but may have an effect in future years. In previous years players did not qualify for comp pick consideration when they did not spend the entire previous season on the losing team's roster. They were treated as players that were cut by their previous team. This year players in this situation were counted. Josh Brown only played 4 games in Cincinnati, and Josh Johnson was only on the roster for 1 game in Cleveland, but both were qualifying players. The other item of note was that Osi Umenyiora and his “voidable” contract was not treated as a cut player. The Giants were able to spread out the cap hit of a signing bonus with no intention of him playing multiple seasons. This knowledge could be used by teams to spread out cap hits to “fake” seasons, similar to modern contract restructurings, but with the added benefit of not affecting potential compensatory picks.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski
Follow Craig on Twitter: @ct17draftnut