Thursday, March 26, 2009
The rule, according to two media reports out of Pittsburgh, says that a team can't receive anything higher than a fifth-round compensatory pick for a player with 10 or more seasons of NFL experience. So, for example, even though Faneca's value in the compensatory formula was the second-highest among all qualifying players, the Steelers got only a fifth-round comp pick for him because he had played 10 seasons before signing with the New York Jets.
In 1999, the same rule prevented the Steelers from getting a third-round pick for losing John Jackson, who had played 10 seasons for Pittsburgh before signing with San Diego in 1998. The Steelers did get a third-round comp pick in 1999, as well as a fifth-rounder, but it's now apparent that the third-round pick was for Yancey Thigpen, not Jackson, as I had thought at the time. Jackson and Thigpen each had a third-round value, with Jackson's value being slightly higher than Thigpen's. The Steelers also lost two lower-valued players, but those losses were negated by the signings of two lower-valued players. At the time, I questioned whether the Steelers' fifth-round comp pick was some type of "compromise" between the value of Thigpen and one of the lower-valued players lost, since none of them had a fifth-round value. But now we know that the third-round comp pick was for Thigpen, and the fifth-rounder was the highest the pick for Jackson could be, because of the 10-year rule.
One year later, in 2000, as many as four teams could have been affected by the 10-year-rule. One is definite -- the Arizona Cardinals got a fifth-round pick for losing Lomas Brown, who had a fourth-round value. The other three teams who might have gotten higher comp picks if not for the 10-year-rule were Kansas City (Rich Gannon), Pittsburgh again (Carnell Lake) and Minnesota (Jerry Ball). The Chiefs, Steelers and Vikings each had other players whose value might have been the reason they received fifth-round comp picks, but Wednesday's revelation of the 10-year-rule raises the possibility that those veteran players were the reason.
Although the Faneca fifth-rounder raised questions when first announced, it ultimately has resulted in far more answers about the process of awarding compensatory picks.
UPDATE: Add last year's fifth-round comp pick for San Diego to the list of possible picks affected by the 10-year rule. Although Donnie Edwards' value was on the borderline for a fourth- or fifth-round pick, his status as an 11-year veteran when he signed with Kansas City made it impossible for the Chargers to receive a fourth-rounder. Whether Edwards' value definitely was in the fifth round anyway, I'm not sure.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Click here to read Brown's blog entry.
UPDATE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting the same thing and says the Steelers weren't aware of the rule until they asked for an explanation why they received a fifth-round comp pick. (Neither was I.)
Click here to read the Post-Gazette's article.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
As you can see, other than the Steelers' curious fifth-round comp pick and a flip-flop of the San Francisco and New England fifth-round picks, I had the correct order of picks through the early seventh round. The order got a little jumbled in the middle of the seventh, even though I had most of the picks correct, so I'll have to try to figure out what happened there.
Thanks for all of the questions in the comments here. I will answer all of them, hopefully by tomorrow. Any other questions or thoughts are welcome, as well.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The NFL announced the compensatory picks this afternoon. I got 26 correct this year, with almost all of them coming in the order I projected. I was off by one round on three more, all of which I said were possible. I barely missed my goal of 30 correct or within one round, but I had more picks correct and fewer off by one round than I expected, so I'm fairly pleased.
I missed two seventh-rounders, with the NFL awarding picks to Jacksonville and Cincinnati (both of which I said would happen if Aaron Glenn and Alex Stepanovich qualified, and they did qualify). Seattle didn't get one of the seventh-rounders I projected because Keary Colbert wound up qualifying (I explained his situation in my original post). Detroit didn't end up getting a net-value pick as I projected, so I'll have to re-examine the players involved there. It was a close call anyway, so it's not a big surprise.The one surprise that I can't explain is the Steelers getting only a fifth-round pick after losing two players (Alan Faneca and Clark Haggans) and signing one (Mewelde Moore). Haggans and Moore had seventh-round values and should have canceled out each other. Faneca played 99 percent of the snaps, made the Pro Bowl and got a huge contract ($7.8 million per season, plus a little more that doesn't count in the equation). He clearly had a third-round value, so I'm curious about why the Steelers got a fifth. Hopefully the media in Pittsburgh will look into it and get an answer.
I'll provide a little more analysis later. In the meantime, here are the 2009 comp picks and the players signed and lost by each team that got a true comp pick:
Arizona (net value)
Kansas City (non-compensatory)
Lost:Bryant Johnson, Calvin Pace, Keydrick Vincent
Signed: Clark Haggans, Travis LaBoy, Bryan Robinson
Lost: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Bernard Berrian, John Gilmore
Lost: Landon Johnson, Bryan Robinson, Justin Smith, Alex Stepanovich, Madieu Williams
Signed: Antwan Odom
Lost: Julius Jones, Jacques Reeves
Lost: Jake Scott
Lost: Terry Cousin, Aaron Glenn, Sammy Knight, Bobby McCray, Ernest Wilford
Signed: Drayton Florence, Cleo Lemon, Jerry Porter
Lost: Randall Gay, Asante Samuel, Donte’ Stallworth
Lost: Kawika Mitchell, Reggie Torbor, Gibril Wilson
Signed: Danny Clark, Sammy Knight
Lost: Alan Faneca, Clark Haggans
Signed: Mewelde Moore
Lost: Drayton Florence, Michael Turner
Lost: Marques Douglas, Kwame Harris, Maurice Hicks, Justin Smiley
Signed: Bryant Johnson, Justin Smith
Lost: Kevin Bentley, Josh Brown, Chuck Darby, D.J. Hackett, Niko Koutouvides, Ellis Wyms
Signed: Keary Colbert (acquired via trade from Denver), T.J. Duckett, Julius Jones
Lost: Jacob Bell, Chris Brown, Ben Hartsock, Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom, Randy Starks
Signed: Jake Scott
Lost: Mark Brunell
To see the projections I posted 13 days ago, click here.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I originally intended this blog to be only for the discussion of compensatory picks, but I'm making an exception for this post.
The 30 Percent Rule explained
Because the NFL is in the final year of the salary cap, teams aren't able to structure contracts quite in the same way they typically do, with the first-year cap number being especially small. The 30 Percent Rule limits the annual increase in certain components of a player's cap number to 30 percent of those components in the Final Capped Year, starting in the first uncapped year. Because this is the Final Capped Year, this year's cap details are what determines how much a contract can increase each season after this. That limits how small this year's cap number can be when using the normal structure of a contract.
For example, consider a five-year veteran signing a three-year contract for $15 million, with a $6 million signing bonus and a total of $9 million in base salaries. If the cap currently extended through 2011, that contract could be structured with a cap hit this season of $2.62 million ($620,000 base salary and $2 million signing bonus allocation). But in reality, because 2010 and 2011 currently are uncapped, the contract must comply with the 30 Percent Rule. In the case of this particular contract, that means the base salaries can't increase by more than 30 percent of this year's base salary. So the lowest this year's base salary could be is $2,307,693, which could increase to $3 million in 2010 and $3,692,307 in 2011, for a total of $9 million in base salaries. This year's cap number would be $4,307,693 — or almost $1.7 million more than it would be using the normal contract structure.
The key to structuring contracts that comply with the 30 Percent Rule is knowing which components are included in the calculations (most of them) and which components are not included (mostly signing bonuses and other amounts treated as signing bonuses, except that option bonuses paid to extend a contract are included).
The challenge most teams are having while structuring contracts this year is finding a way to minimize this year's cap hit while also guaranteeing the player as much money as possible. Other cap rules limit the types of payments that can be guaranteed in future seasons without affecting this year's cap, and the 30 Percent Rule limits the amounts of those payments as compared to this year's cap number.
Many teams are using a protected option bonus in 2010 to increase a player's guaranteed money while limiting this year's cap hit. Because option bonus prorations start in the season they're paid, this year's cap number isn't affected by an option bonus paid in 2010. But because option bonus prorations are included in the calculations for the 30 Percent Rule, the other cap components that are included in the calculations have to be large enough this season to keep the contract compliant in 2010, when the option bonus proration is included. That restricts just how low this year's cap number can be.
One team, though, has found a loophole in the 30 Percent Rule that can be used essentially to guarantee money while at the same time minimizing this year's cap number in the usual manner. The New Orleans Saints have used what is known as a "completion bonus" in the contracts of Jonathan Vilma, Jon Stinchcomb and Jabari Greer.
Here is Artcle XXIV, Section 7(b)(iv)(16) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is under "Amounts Treated as Signing Bonuses" —
(16) Any bonus to be paid to a player solely for fulfilling his obligations to play under his Player Contract without seeking to renegotiate and/or “holding out” (i.e., a “completion bonus”), and which bonus is otherwise guaranteed for skill and injury, except that the amount of any such completion bonus shall be calculated at its present value, computed at the one-year Treasury Note rate published in The Wall Street Journal on February 1 of the League Year in which the Player Contract is executed. Further, if any event occurs which extinguishes the player’s right to receive such completion bonus, any amount of the bonus that has previously been included in Team Salary shall be immediately added to the Team’s Salary Cap for the current League Year, if such event occurs prior to June 1, or for the next League Year, if such event occurs after such date, with the remainder of the bonus that has been allocated to Team Salary for future League Years immediately extinguished.
Essentially, Vilma, Stinchcomb and Greer will receive a completion bonus in 2010 if they fulfill their contract obligations this year without holding out or seeking to renegotiate. Completion bonuses can be fully guaranteed for skill or injury, they aren't included in the calculations for the 30 Percent Rule, and the key to the loophole is that their prorations don't begin until 2010, the season in which they're paid. This loophole allows the Saints, or any other team that uses a completion bonus, to guarantee more money while also minimizing this year's cap hit to a greater degree than any other method of structuring a contract.
Although the Saints' use of completion bonuses has been reported in the media, including by Jason Cole of Yahoo.com and by Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune, the issue has gone largely unnoticed. This might be because Cole's article focused on the "good behavior" aspect of completion bonuses or because the Saints' completion bonuses are relatively small ($5.5 million for Stinchcomb, $3.53 million for Vilma and $2 million for Greer). It would have received much more attention if the Washington Redskins had used a completion bonus to give Albert Haynesworth a first-year cap number of, say, $3.8 million — or, theoretically, as low as $2.796 million — instead of $7 million. If the "highest-paid defensive player in NFL history" had a lower first-year cap number than free-agent signings such as Frank Omiyale ($4.95 million) and Phillip Buchanan ($4.0 million), that would get attention.
Haynesworth got a seven-year contract worth $80 million, with $41 million of that guaranteed. He also has $35 million in Not Likely To Be Earned incentives. His guaranteed money consists of a $5 million signing bonus, a $21 million protected option bonus in 2010 and $15 million in base salaries during his first three years. His first-year base salary is $6 million, which along with his $1 million signing bonus proration gives him a cap number of $7 million for 2009. He will receive a total of $11 million this year ($5 million signing bonus and $6 million base salary) and $24.6 million in 2010 ($21 million option bonus and $3.6 million base salary) if the Redskins exercise the option. If the Redskins don't exercise the option, several of the base salaries would increase and become fully or partially guaranteed, adding up to the same $21 million in additional guarantees, making the option bonus "protected" and that money guaranteed.
By using a completion bonus instead of an option bonus, the Redskins could have given Haynesworth a much lower cap number while still paying the same amount of money in the same seasons. For example, the Redskins could have paid him a $9 million signing bonus and $2 million base salary this season, giving him the same $11 million this year but a cap hit of just $3.8 million. In 2010, the Redskins could pay him a base salary of $2.6 million, which would comply with the 30 Percent Rule, plus a $22 million guaranteed completion bonus for fulfilling his obligations in 2009. The total payout for 2010 would be $24.6 million, and his cap number (if 2010 becomes capped) would be $8.8 million, with both numbers being the same as in his actual contract. The rest of the contract theoretically could follow the same pattern, with completion bonuses and base salaries combining to match the annual payouts in the current contract.
Most of the major signings this offseason occurred before the Saints signed Vilma, Stinchcomb and Greer. It will be interesting to see if any other teams use the same contract structure this offseason. In particular, it could help teams fit rookies' contracts into the rookie pool while still complying with the 25 Percent Rule for rookies (although the CBA doesn't specify whether a completion bonus would be treated the same for the 25 Percent Rule as it is for the 30 Percent Rule). And it could help a team looking to give a player a huge contract or contract extension without making a huge dent in the salary cap, such as the Dallas Cowboys' attempts to extend DeMarcus Ware's contract. Using the completion bonus loophole around the 30 Percent Rule, the Cowboys theoretically could give Ware a contract larger than Haynesworth's but with a much smaller impact on their salary cap.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
To see my projections for LAST YEAR, you can click on one of these links or just Google "AdamJT13" and "2008 compensatory" --
As I mentioned in this year's projections, I got 25 correct and was off by one round on four more.
The chart below shows how my projections compared to the actual comp picks. Those shaded green are the ones I had in the correct round. Those shaded yellow were the ones I missed by one round (three of which I had indicated were possible, as highlighted in green type). And the blue lines show where I had the order correct for the picks I had going in the correct round.
(Click for full-size image.)
The three picks I missed were Atlanta's third-round pick, Miami's seventh-round pick and St. Louis' net-value pick at the end of the seventh round. Instead, I had projected a seventh for Indianapolis, a net-value pick for Atlanta and a non-compensatory pick for Miami. Even though I projected that Miami would get a seventh-rounder and Miami did get a seventh-rounder, I don't count that as a correct pick, because it was a different type of pick than I projected.
Although I missed Atlanta's third-round pick, I did say in my projections that it was possible. I had Marcus Wilkins listed as a bubble player, and I projected him to qualify for the comp picks equation, which gave them an equal number of qualifying players signed and lost, making them eligible for only a net-value comp pick at the end of the seventh round. However, I did say, "If Marcus Wilkins does not qualify, Atlanta would receive a third-round comp pick for Patrick Kerney instead of a net-value comp pick in the seventh round. The third-round comp pick for Kerney would be between Cincinnati’s pick for Steinbach and Baltimore’s pick for Thomas." Wilkins did not qualify, and Atlanta's pick did indeed fall between the third-round picks given to Cincinnati and Baltimore. So my only mistake was not hitting the correct cutoff point for the minimum value needed to qualify.
The same mistake is why I missed Miami's seventh-round pick, athough I again had said it was possible. This time, the bubble players involved were Chris Liewinski and Mike Doss. I had projected that both of them would qualify, and that Indianapolis would receive a seventh-round comp pick for Doss. But neither of them qualified. In my projections, I said, "If neither Chris Liewinski nor Mike Doss qualify and Vinny Ciurciu does qualify, Miami would get a seventh-round comp pick for Jeff Zgonina between Chicago’s pick for Justin Gage and Cincinnati’s pick for Anthony Wright, Indianapolis would not receive a seventh-round comp pick for Doss, and Miami would keep its non-compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round." Ciurciu did qualify, and Miami's seventh-round comp pick for Zgonina fell right where I projected it. Miami did not get a non-compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round because 32 picks were awarded, and I mentioned in my projections that if the NFL awarded more comp picks than I had projected, the lowest picks in my projection would not be awarded.
The final pick I missed was the net-value pick for St. Louis. I didn't list St. Louis' players signed and lost in my projections because I didn't project a pick for the Rams. I had the Rams signing three qualifying players (Drew Bennett, Chris Draft and Todd Johnson) and losing three qualifying players (Kevin Curtis, Travis Fisher and Shaun McDonald), but I didn't have the difference in their combined values being enough to warrant a net-value comp pick. The NFL said the difference was enough. In this year's projections, I said the difference in net values for the net-value picks I projected for Detroit and Arizona would be the smallest of any net-value comp pick in the past six years. But after re-examining St. Louis' net-value pick that I missed last year, the difference for the Rams' players signed and lost appears to have been even smaller. That makes me feel more confident about my projections for Detroit and Arizona this year, but if neither of them qualify for a comp pick this year, it means I'll have to do a little more digging to figure out why.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As the NFL explains, compensatory picks are awarded to teams that lose more or better compensatory free agents than they acquire. The number of picks a team can receive equals the net loss of compensatory free agents, up to a maximum of four. Compensatory free agents are determined by a secret formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. Not every free agent lost or signed is covered by the formula.
Although the formula has never been revealed, by studying the compensatory picks that have been awarded since they began in 1994, I’ve determined that the primary factor in the value of the picks awarded is the average annual value of the contract the player signed with his new team, with an adjustment for playing time and a smaller adjustment for postseason honors. It should be noted that the contract values used in the equation seemingly do not include things such as workout bonuses, incentives and conditional bonuses. (Also, keep in mind that the contract figures reported in the media often are incorrect.) And the playing time used in the equation seemingly is the percentage of offensive or defensive snaps played.
A simple method of determining for which qualifying free agents a team will be compensated is this – for every player acquired, cancel out a lost player of similar value. For example, consider a team that loses one qualifying player whose value would bring a third-round comp pick and another qualifying player whose value would bring a sixth-round comp pick but signs a qualifying player whose value would be in the range of a third-round pick. That team would receive a sixth-round comp pick because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the higher-valued player. If the signed player’s value was equal to a fourth-round pick or lower, however, the team would receive a third-round comp pick, because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the lower-valued player.
It is possible for a team to get a compensatory pick even if it doesn’t suffer a net loss of qualifying free agents. That type of comp pick comes at the end of the seventh round, after the normal comp picks and before the non-compensatory picks that are added if fewer than 32 comp picks are awarded. There have been 13 of these “net value” type of comp picks awarded, and in each case, the combined value of the free agents lost was significantly higher than the combined value of the free agents added. In all 13 cases, those teams lost the same number of qualifying free agents as they signed. No team has been awarded a comp pick after signing more qualifying free agents than it lost, no matter how significant the difference in combined value. This year, I’m projecting that Detroit and Arizona will receive a net-value comp picks. Detroit lost three qualifying players (Damien Woody, Boss Bailey and T.J. Duckett) and signed three qualifying players (Brian Kelly, Michael Gaines and Chuck Darby). Arizona lost three (Calvin Pace, Bryant Johnson and Keydrick Vincent) and signed three (Travis LaBoy, Clark Haggans and Bryan Robinson). The combined values of the players Detroit and Arizona lost each exceeded 50 percent more than the combined values of the players they signed. That would be the smallest difference in value of any net-value comp in the past six years, but I’m projecting that it will be enough for both teams.
For the second consecutive year, I’ve used a mathematical formula to weight the three factors that determine a player’s value in the comp equation (his contract, his playing time and his postseason awards). Using this formula, I’ve been able to reconstruct almost precisely the order of the comp picks that were awarded in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In two of those years, the only difference between the reconstructed order and the actual order was that a very small difference in values had the order of two consecutive picks switched. I don’t know if I have the factors weighted correctly, but given that my projected order last year (not the reconstructed order after the actual comps were awarded) matched the exact order of the comp picks in many cases – including one instance of 11 straight, out of the projected picks I had correct – I think I’m probably pretty close.
As always, please note that my comp pick formula is merely an attempt to project the results of the actual (secret) formula. I don’t pretend to know the actual formula. But I think previous results indicate that the formula I use is a pretty good simulation.
In order to qualify for the comp equation, a player must have been a true Unrestricted Free Agent whose contract had expired or was voided after the previous season (i.e., he cannot have been released by his old team); he must sign during the UFA signing period (which ended July 22 last year); if he signs after June 1, he must have been tendered a June 1 qualifying offer by his old team; his compensatory value must be above a specific minimum amount; and he cannot have been permanently released by his new team before a certain point in the season (which seems to be after Week 10) or, possibly, before getting a certain amount of playing time, unless he was claimed off waivers by another team.
The most difficult part about projecting the comp picks is determining all of the cutoff points – the minimum value needed to qualify and the value ranges for the comp picks in each round of the draft. The comp picks awarded in previous years suggest that the cutoff points increase each year by a small percentage – approximately the same percentage by which the leaguewide salary cap increases. From 2007 to 2008, the cap went up 6.96 percent, so I used a 7 percent increase when estimating the cutoff points for this year’s comp picks.
Last year, the lowest-paid player who is known to have qualified for the NFL’s comp equation was Michael Myers, who signed for $825,000 per season and saw significant playing time. The highest-paid player who is known to have not qualified was Mike Doss, who signed for $900,000 per season by saw very little playing time except on special teams. The non-qualifying player with the highest value using the compensatory formula was Chris Liwienski, who signed for $740,000 per season and played almost 90 percent of his team’s offensive snaps. This year, only one player was “on the bubble” for qualifying – Tony Richardson, who left the Vikings and signed with the Jets for $860,000 per season. However, regardless of whether Richardson qualifies, the Vikings and the Jets each signed more qualifying players than they lost, which means Richardson doesn’t affect the comp picks at all.
I’m fairly confident that the players I consider a little “above the bubble” this year (Terry Cousin, Keydrick Vincent and Danny Clark) will qualify for the equation, and that the players I consider slightly “below the bubble” (Alex Stepanovich and Aaron Glenn), will not qualify. The lowest-valued player “above the bubble,” Danny Clark, has a value in the formula that is more than 20 percent higher than that of last year’s lowest-valued qualifying player. And the highest-valued player “below the bubble,” Alex Stepanovich, has a value that is less than that of the lowest-valued qualifying player last year (Michael Myers) and less than 1 percent more than the highest-valued non-qualifying player last year (Chris Liwienski). If I’m wrong about any of those players, it will represent by far the largest or smallest increase in the minimum value needed to qualify that the NFL has used since comp picks were first awarded.
There were two unusual cases this year, one involving Keary Colbert and the other involving Marques Douglas, and they each might or might not count in the comp picks equation.
Colbert was a UFA for Carolina who signed with Denver, was traded to Seattle on Sept. 17, then was cut by the Seahawks on Nov. 12. The only clue about how the NFL handles a player like this in the compensatory formula is the case of Qadry Ismail in 1998. He was a free agent for Minnesota in 1997, signed with Green Bay, then was traded to Miami during the preseason. He did not count in the equation for Minnesota or Green Bay. It’s not known whether he counted for Miami, because the Dolphins didn’t receive any comp picks in 1998, so the NFL never revealed which players counted as lost or signed for Miami. In Colbert’s case, it doesn’t matter whether he counts for Carolina and/or Denver, because neither team will receive a comp pick either way. They each signed more qualifying players than they lost, regardless of whether Colbert counts. It does matter for Seattle, though. If Colbert counts as a player added, the Seahawks would receive three comp picks. If he does not, the Seahawks would receive four. Because Colbert was a member of the Seahawks for only eight weeks, I am projecting that he will not count in the equation.
Douglas was a UFA for San Francisco who signed with Tampa Bay, then was traded to Baltimore on Aug. 27 and played in every game for the Ravens. Whether he counts for Tampa Bay and/or Baltimore is irrelevant, because they each signed more qualifying players than they lost. However, it does matter if he counts for San Francisco. If he counts as a player lost by the 49ers, they will receive two comp picks. If not, they will get one comp pick. I am projecting that Douglas will count as a player lost by the 49ers.
Last year, regardless of playing time or postseason honors, the third-round comp players had signed for at least $6.25 million per season, the fourth-round comp players had signed for $4.67 million to $5.225 million, the only fifth-round comp player had signed for $4.5 million, the sixth-round comp players had signed for $2.25 million to $3.75 million, and the seventh-round comp players had signed for $2.5 million or less per season. Note that there are huge gaps between some rounds, and that there is an overlap between the sixth and seventh rounds because of the adjustments for playing time. You’ll find the contract values for each round of this year’s projected picks in the list a few paragraphs below this one.
As I alluded to earlier, the NFL adds non-compensatory picks if fewer than 32 comp picks are awarded. The non-compensatory picks are given, in order, to the teams that would be drafting if there were an eighth round, until the maximum of 32 has been reached. If there are 28 true comps, for example, the NFL would give additional picks to the teams that would have the first four picks in the eighth round, if there were one. This year, I’m projecting that 30 true comps will be awarded, including Detroit’s and Arizona's comp picks for net-value losses, which I mentioned earlier. Therefore, I’m projecting that Detroit and Kansas City will receive non-compensatory picks to fill out the maximum number of picks. If the NFL’s equation results in more than three non-compensatory picks being added, the next six teams in line to receive one would be St. Louis, Cleveland, Seattle, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and Oakland, in that order.
Here are the projected picks for 2009, along with the compensatory player, their average contract value, their games played, their games started and other notes (I’ve also noted the nine picks that fall near a cutoff point and could end up in a different round) –
New England (Asante Samuel, $9.3567 million per season, 15 GP/15 GS, Pro Bowl)
Pittsburgh (Alan Faneca, $7.8 million, 16/16, Pro Bowl)
Cincinnati (Justin Smith, $7 million, 16/16) – possibly a fourth-round pick
Chicago (Bernard Berrian, $6.9 million, 16/13) – possibly a third-round pick
N.Y. Giants (Gibril Wilson, $6.5008 million, 16/15) – possibly a third-round pick
San Diego (Michael Turner, $5.75 million, 16/16, Pro Bowl) – possibly a third-round pick
San Diego (Drayton Florence, $5.9333 million, 15/8)
Tennessee (Antwan Odom, $5.9 million, 12/8)
Indianapolis (Jake Scott, $4.8 million, 16/16) – possibly a fifth-round pick
San Francisco (Kwame Harris, $4.6667 million, 14/11)
New England (Donte Stallworth, $4.5393 million, 11/7)
Dallas (Jacques Reeves, $4 million, 16/16) – possibly a sixth-round pick
Tennessee (Travis LaBoy, $4.4 million, 13/12) – possibly a sixth-round pick
Tennessee (Randy Starks, $3.885 million, 16/4)
New England (Randall Gay, $3.3125 million, 14/13)
Dallas (Julius Jones, $2.9 million, 15/10)
Cincinnati (Landon Johnson, $2.733 million, 15/0) – possibly a seventh-round pick
San Francisco (Marques Douglas, $2.525 million, 16/0) – possibly a seventh-round pick
Tennessee (Ben Hartsock, $2.25 million, 11/11)
Washington (Mark Brunell, $1.755 million, 2/0)
Seattle (Chuck Darby, $1.467 million, 15/15)
Seattle (Ellis Wyms, $1.4 million, 16/0)
Chicago (John Gilmore, $1.333 million, 16/10)
Seattle (Kevin Bentley, $1.3 million, 16/7)
Chicago (Brendon Ayanbadejo, $1.223 million, 16/0, Pro Bowl)
Cincinnati (Bryan Robinson, $1.2125 million, 16/15)
Seattle (D.J. Hackett, $1.2 million, 9/2)
Jacksonville (Terry Cousin, $1.115 million, 16/0)
Detroit (net-value comp pick, lost three for $10.721 million, 38/22; signed three for $7.134 million, 42/31)
Arizona (net-value comp pick, lost three for $9.45 million, 46/42; signed three for $6.9625 million, 40/27)
Detroit (non-compensatory pick)
Kansas City (non-compensatory pick)
As noted, the values of nine comp picks fell near the cutoff points between rounds, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the comp pick for Smith is in the fourth round, if the comp picks for Berrian, Wilson and/or Turner are in the third round, if the comp pick for Scott is in the fifth round, if the comp picks for Reeves and LaBoy in the sixth round or if the comp picks for Johnson and/or Douglas are in the seventh round. (Actually, if Douglas’ value falls in the seventh round, the 49ers’ comp pick would be for Maurice Hicks and would fall between Chicago’s pick for John Gilmore and Seattle's pick for Kevin Bentley.)
Of course, other projected picks could be off by one round (or more) if the NFL happened to change the formula or increase the cutoff points by significantly more or less than I projected.
Here are the qualifying players lost and signed (in order of value) for the 15 teams that I’m projecting will receive comp picks –
Lost: Calvin Pace, Bryant Johnson, Keydrick Vincent
Signed: Travis LaBoy, Clark Haggans, Bryan Robinson
Lost: Bernard Berrian, John Gilmore, Brendon Ayanbadejo
Lost: Justin Smith, Madieu Williams, Landon Johnson, Bryan Robinson
Signed: Antwan Odom
Lost: Jacques Reeves, Julius Jones
Lost: Damien Woody, Boss Bailey, T.J. Duckett
Signed: Brian Kelly, Michael Gaines, Chuck Darby
Lost: Jake Scott
Lost: Bobby McCray, Ernest Wilford, Sammy Knight, Terry Cousin
Signed: Drayton Florence, Jerry Porter, Cleo Lemon
NEW YORK GIANTS
Lost: Gibril Wilson, Kawika Mitchell, Reggie Torbor
Signed: Sammy Knight, Danny Clark
Lost: Asante Samuel, Donte Stallworth, Randall Gay
Lost: Alan Faneca, Clark Haggans
Signed: Mewelde Moore
Lost: Michael Turner, Drayton Florence
Lost: Justin Smiley, Kwame Harris, Marques Douglas, Maurice Hicks
Signed: Justin Smith, Bryant Johnson
Lost: Josh Brown, Niko Koutouvides, Chuck Darby, Ellis Wyms, Kevin Bentley, D.J. Hackett
Signed: Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett
Lost: Jacob Bell, Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy, Randy Starks, Ben Hartsock, Chris Brown
Signed: Jake Scott
Lost: Mark Brunell
Anyone else who was lost or signed by one of those teams last offseason is not projected to qualify for the equation, for one reason or another. Remember, players have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for the equation (see the eighth paragraph of these projections for a summary of the criteria), so a lot of players will not count in the equation. Most of the time, it’s either because the player had been released by his previous team and was not a true UFA, or because the player didn’t sign for enough money to qualify.
If I’m wrong about the values of certain players or whether some players will or will not qualify for the equation, that would affect the comp picks. Here’s what would happen in certain instances –
If Jacob Bell’s value as a player lost for Tennessee falls into the range of a third-round comp pick, instead of a fourth-rounder as I projected, then the Titans would get a third-round comp pick for him instead of a fourth-round comp pick for Antwan Odom.
If Jake Scott’s compensatory value is in the fifth round, then the Colts would get a fifth-round pick for him, and the Titans would get a comp pick for Jacob Bell (either in the third or fourth round) instead of a fifth-round comp pick for Travis LaBoy.
If Keary Colbert does qualify as a player signed for Seattle, the Seahawks would not get a seventh-round comp pick for Chuck Darby but would get the other three seventh-round comp picks, and St. Louis would get a non-compensatory pick to fill out the draft order.
If Marques Douglas does not qualify as a player lost by San Francisco, the 49ers would not get a sixth-round comp pick for him. And as I mentioned earlier, if Douglas’ value falls in the range of a seventh-round comp pick, the 49ers’ comp pick would not be for him, but for Maurice Hicks, and it would fall between Chicago’s pick for John Gilmore and Seattle's pick for Kevin Bentley.
If Terry Cousin does not qualify as a player lost by Jacksonville, the Jaguars would not get a seventh-round comp pick for him, and St. Louis would get a non-compensatory pick to fill out the draft order.
If Keydrick Vincent does not qualify as a player lost by Arizona, the Cardinals would not get a third-round comp pick for Calvin Pace, and St. Louis would get a non-compensatory pick to fill out the draft order.
If Danny Clark does not qualify as a player signed by the Giants, they would get a sixth-round comp pick for Reggie Torbor, between New England’s pick for Randall Gay and Dallas’ pick for Julius Jones, and Kansas City would not get a non-compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round.
If Alex Stepanovich does qualify as a player lost by Cincinnati, the Bengals would receive a seventh-round comp pick for him, between Jacksonville’s comp pick for Terry Cousin and Detroit’s net-value comp pick, and Kansas City would not get a non-compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round.
If Aaron Glenn does qualify as a player lost by Jacksonville, the Jaguars would receive a seventh-round comp pick for him, after their comp pick for Terry Cousin (and after Cincinnati’s comp pick for Stepanovich, if the Bengals get one) and before Detroit’s net-value comp pick, and Kansas City would not get a non-compensatory pick at the end of the seventh round.
Under no circumstances will more than 32 picks be awarded, so if I have made numerous significant mistakes and there are more true comp picks than I have projected, one or more of the lowest-valued picks in my projection (starting with the non-compensatory picks and going backward) might not be awarded, if they’re not one of the 32 highest-valued comp picks. Only the 32 highest-valued comp picks are awarded. So, for example, if Stepanovich and Glenn both qualify as players lost, there would be no non-compensatory picks at the end of the seventh round.
The NFL typically awards the compensatory picks on the second day of the Annual Meeting, which would be March 23 this year (the meeting will be March 22-25 in Dana Point, Calif.). After the comp picks are announced, I’ll review what the NFL did and where my projections were incorrect (although I’ve already presented some other possibilities).
Feel free to post my projections on message boards, as long as you give proper credit. Because I cannot register for and regularly visit every single message board where my projections are posted by others, please encourage anyone who has questions for me to post them in the comments here at adamjt13.blogspot.com.