Note: In order to save me the time I could spend visiting numerous forums and message boards answering questions about this year's projections, please direct anyone with questions to this blog. Questions that are posed in the comments section of this post and subsequent related posts will be answered. You do not need to register to comment.

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 value used in the equation does not include some parts of the contract, and that the contract information reported in the media is often incorrect.

Each qualifying player has a value based on his contract, playing time and postseason honors, and that value corresponds to a round in the draft. In the compensatory equation, each qualifying player that a team signs cancels out a qualifying player that the team lost whose value is the highest in the same round. If there are no lost players remaining in that round, the signed player cancels out the lost player whose value is the next-highest. A signed player will cancel out a lost player whose value falls in a higher round only if there are no remaining lost players. After all of a team's qualifying signed players have canceled out a lost player, the team can receive a comp pick for each qualifying player who remains. For example, consider a team that loses one qualifying player whose value falls in the third round and another qualifying player whose value falls in the sixth round but signs a qualifying player whose value falls in the third round. 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 were 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 14 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 14 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 Oakland will receive a net-value comp after losing Jake Grove and signing Khalif Barnes, whose value is less than one-sixth of Grove's value. According to my projections, none of the other teams that lost and signed the same number of qualifying players suffered a loss in value that was significant enough to warrant a net-value comp pick. Arizona came the closest, followed by Baltimore and Buffalo, but they all fell short of the projected loss in value that is necessary to receive a net-value comp pick.

For the third 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, if any). Using this formula, I’ve been able to reconstruct almost precisely the order of the comp picks that were awarded in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In two of those years, I have been able to reconstruct the exact order, and in other year, the only difference was that the order of two consecutive picks was switched because of a minuscule difference in values. I don’t know if I have the factors weighted correctly, but given that my projected order of a number of comp picks has frequently matched the order of the actual comp picks, 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 27 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 or contract 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 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 2008 to 2009, the cap went up 9.65 percent, so I used a 9.65 percent increase when estimating the cutoff points for this year’s comp picks. In some cases, I used the percentage increases since 2007, 2006 or even 2005 to compare the values of this year's players to the values of qualifying players from previous years whose draft round value is known.

Last year, the lowest-paid player who is known to have qualified for the NFL’s comp equation was Aaron Glenn, who signed for a one-year deal for $870,000 and played a little less than 20 percent of the snaps in 2008. The highest-paid player who is known to have not qualified was Pierson Prioleau, who signed a one-year deal for $830,000 and also played a little less than 20 percent of the snaps. This year, there are eight players I consider "on the bubble" for qualifying. Floyd Womack, Jason Wright, Brett Romberg and John Owens each signed for at least $950,000 and should qualify, based on Glenn qualifying last year. Joe Berger, Mark Jones, Hunter Smith and Larry Izzo each signed for between $875,000 and $909,000 and are not projected to qualify, based more on Marcus Wilkins ($816,667) not qualifying for the 2008 comp picks than for Prioleau not qualifying in 2009.

There were two unusual cases this year, one involving Laveranues Coles and one involving Bobby Engram.

Coles renegotiated his contract on Feb. 25, 2009, giving up a $6 million guaranteed salary in exchange for allowing his 2009 season to void. Two days later, his contract voided, and he became an Unrestricted Free Agent. Plenty of players have qualified for the comp equation after becoming UFAs because their contract voided, even if the voidable year was put in the contract through renegotiation. However, Coles' situation is a little less clear because of the timing involved. Normally, a player "earns" a void in his contract by doing something more than simply waiting two days, so it's possible that the NFL will not consider Coles eligible for the comp picks equation. Players who have had contract years simply deleted — not converted to voidable years — by renegotiation have never qualified for the equation, and Coles' situation is close to that. However, because a voidable year has never disqualified a player from the equation, I am projecting that Coles will qualify.

Engram's situation is a little less complicated. He was released by Kansas City on Monday, Nov. 9, which was the last day of Week 9 and the start of Week 10. Previous cases of players being released during the season seem to indicate that players who are released by Week 10 and not claimed off waivers will not qualify for the comp picks equation. For that reason, I am projecting that Engram will not qualify, but because he released close to the deadline, it is possible that he will qualify.

Last year, regardless of playing time or postseason honors, the third-round comp players had signed for at least $6.5 million per season, the fourth-round comp players had signed for $4.8 million to $6 million, all but one of the fifth-round comp players had signed for $4 million to $5 million, the sixth-round comp players had signed for $2.7 million to $3.9 million, and the seventh-round comp players had signed for less than $2.65 million per season. Note that there are huge gaps between some rounds, and that there is an overlap between the fourth and fifth 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.

I mentioned that all but one of last year's fifth-round comp players had signed for $4 million to $5 million. Because of a rule that had never been revealed until after last year's comp picks were awarded, the Pittsburgh Steelers got only a fifth-round comp pick for Alan Faneca, even though he signed for $7.8 million per season, played more than 98 percent of the Jets' offensive snaps and made the Pro Bowl. A rule stipulates that a team cannot receive more than a fifth-round comp pick for a player with 10 or more seasons of NFL experience. After the rule was revealed, I found several times in previous seasons when it had been invoked. What still is not known, however, is whether the rule applies to the player's value in the equation or whether it applies only for the placement of a comp pick. In other words, does it affect which player a 10-year veteran cancels out by being signed or lost, or does it come into play only when a team is due to receive a comp pick for a player with 10 or more seasons of experience? This year, there are no qualifying players with at least 10 years of experience whose value in the formula is higher than a fifth-round pick, so that question will remain unanswered for at least another year.

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 29 comps, for example, the NFL would give additional picks to the teams that would have the first three picks in the eighth round, if there were one. This year, I’m projecting that 27 true comp picks will be awarded, including Oakland’s comp pick for a net-value loss, which I mentioned earlier. Therefore, I’m projecting that St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Washington 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 five teams in line to receive one would be Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle, Buffalo and Chicago, in that order.

Here are the projected picks for 2010, along with the compensatory player, their contract value that was used in the equation, their games played and their games started (I’ve also noted the eight picks that fall near a cutoff point and could end up in a different round, along with two other picks that could be affected by the cutoff points) —

THIRD ROUND

Tennessee (Albert Haynesworth, $11.37 million per season, 12 GP/12 GS)

Cincinnati (T.J. Houshmandzadeh, $8 million, 16/16) — possibly a fourth- or fifth-round pick for Stacy Andrews

Atlanta (Dominique Foxworth, $6.8 million, 16/16) — possibly a fourth-round pick

FOURTH ROUND

None

FIFTH ROUND

Pittsburgh (Bryant McFadden, $4.75 million, 16/16)

Atlanta (Michael Boley, $4.8 million, 11/11)

Pittsburgh (Nate Washington, $4.47 million, 16/15) — possibly a sixth-round pick

SIXTH ROUND

Minnesota (Matt Birk, $4 million, 16/16) — possibly a fifth-round pick

Green Bay (Colin Cole, $4.28 million, 16/15) – possibly a fifth-round pick

Carolina (Geoff Hangartner, $3.15 million, 16/16)

Jacksonville (Mike Peterson, $3 million, 16/16)

Carolina (Frank Omiyale, $2.64 million, 16/12) — possibly a seventh-round pick

Miami (Renaldo Hill, $2.5 million, 15/15) — possibly a seventh-round pick

SEVENTH ROUND

New England (Jabar Gaffney, $2.5 million, 16/7) — possibly a sixth-round pick

Tennessee (Chris Carr, $2.5 million, 16/4) — possibly a sixth-round pick

Indianapolis (Darrell Reid, $2.27 million, 16/0)

Tennessee (Eric King, $2.125 million, 4/1)

Tennessee (Daniel Loper, $2 million, 8/5)

Pittsburgh (Byron Leftwich, $2 million, 3/3)

Philadelphia (Sean Considine, $1.45 million, 11/6)

Philadelphia (L.J. Smith, $1.5 million, 12/0)

San Diego (Mike Goff, $1.35 million, 8/7) — possibly a fifth- or sixth-round pick for Igor Olshansky

San Francisco (Donald Strickland, $1.11 million, 9/2)

New England (Lonie Paxton, $1.03 million, 16/0)

New England (Heath Evans, $1.05 million, 6/5)

Seattle (Floyd Womack, $950,000, 13/9)

New England (LaMont Jordan, $1.01 million, 9/0)

Oakland (net-value comp pick; lost $5.7 million, 12/10; signed $1 million, 6/2)

St. Louis (non-compensatory pick)

Detroit (non-compensatory pick)

Tampa Bay (non-compensatory pick)

Kansas City (non-compensatory pick)

Washington (non-compensatory pick)

As noted, the values of eight comp picks fell near the cutoff points between rounds, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the comp picks for Foxworth is in the fourth round, if the comp picks for Washington is in the sixth round, if the comp picks for Birk and/or Cole are in the fifth round, if the comp picks for Omiyale and/or Hill are in the seventh round or if the comp picks for Gaffney and/or Carr are in the sixth round. 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.

In addition to those eight picks, two of the other comp picks could be affected by the cutoff points between rounds, if a player who was canceled out has a value in a round different from where I projected their value to be.

For Cincinnati, Laveranues Coles' value as a player signed is projected to be in the fourth round, but there is a chance that his value could be just enough to fall in the third round. If so, his signing will cancel out the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the Bengals will receive a comp pick for the loss of Stacy Andrews, most likely in the fourth round but possibly in the fifth. In addition, if Coles is disqualified from the equation because his contract was renegotiated to void the 2009 season, the Bengals will receive comp picks for both Houshmandzadeh and Andrews.

For San Diego, Igor Olshanky's value as a player lost is on the borderline of the fifth and sixth rounds, and Kevin Burnett's value as a player signed is on the borderline of the sixth and seventh rounds. My projections put both of them in the sixth round, leaving the Chargers with a seventh-round comp pick for Mike Goff. However, if the values of Olshansky or Burnett – or both – do not fall in the sixth round, the Chargers will receive a comp pick for Olshansky instead of one for Goff. The placement of that pick will depend on whether Olshansky's value falls in the fifth round or the sixth round.

Here are the qualifying players lost and signed (in order of value) for the 16 teams that I’m projecting will receive comp picks, with the projected compensatory players in bold —

ATLANTA

Lost: Dominique Foxworth, Michael Boley, Keith Brooking, Grady Jackson

Signed: Mike Peterson, Brett Romberg

CAROLINA

Lost: Geoff Hangartner, Frank Omiyale

Signed: None

CINCINNATI

Lost: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Stacy Andrews, Ryan Fitzpatrick

Signed: Laveranues Coles, J.T. O’Sullivan

GREEN BAY

Lost: Colin Cole

Signed: None

INDIANAPOLIS

Lost: Darrell Reid

Signed: None

JACKSONVILLE

Lost: Mike Peterson, Gerald Sensabaugh, Khalif Barnes

Signed: Tra Thomas, Sean Considine

MIAMI

Lost: Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill

Signed: Jake Grove

MINNESOTA

Lost: Matt Birk, Darren Sharper

Signed: Karl Paymah

NEW ENGLAND

Lost: Jabar Gaffney, Lonie Paxton, Heath Evans, LaMont Jordan

Signed: None

OAKLAND

Lost: Jake Grove

Signed: Khalif Barnes

PHILADELPHIA

Lost: Brian Dawkins, Tra Thomas, Correll Buckhalter, Sean Considine, L.J. Smith

Signed: Stacy Andrews, Sean Jones, Leonard Weaver

PITTSBURGH

Lost: Bryant McFadden, Nate Washington, Byron Leftwich

Signed: None

SAN DIEGO

Lost: Igor Olshansky, Mike Goff

Signed: Kevin Burnett

SAN FRANCISCO

Lost: Bryant Johnson, Ronald Fields, J.T. O’Sullivan, Donald Strickland

Signed: Brandon Jones, Moran Norris, Demetric Evans

SEATTLE

Lost: Rocky Bernard, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver, Floyd Womack

Signed: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Colin Cole, John Owens

TENNESSEE

Lost: Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Jones, Chris Simms, Chris Carr, Eric King, Daniel Loper

Signed: Nate Washington, Jovan Haye

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 therefore 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 will affect the comp picks. Here’s what would happen in certain instances –

If Laveranues Coles does not qualify, Cincinnati will receive a comp pick for Stacy Andrews in either the fourth or fifth round, most likely the fourth, in addition to the third-round comp pick for T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

If Kevin Burnett's value falls in the seventh round instead of the sixth round, San Diego will receive a comp pick for Igor Olshansky instead of a comp pick for Mike Goff. The comp pick for Olshansky will be in either the fifth or sixth round, between Pittsburgh's comp pick for Nate Washington and Minnesota's comp pick for Matt Birk. Or, if Olshansky's value falls in the fifth round, San Diego will receive a fifth-round comp pick for him, regardless of whether Burnett's value falls in the sixth round or seventh round.

If Bobby Engram qualifies, Seattle will receive a seventh-round comp pick for him immediately before its comp pick for Floyd Womack.

If John Owens does not qualify, Seattle will receive a seventh-round comp pick for Leonard Weaver, between Tennessee's comp picks for Eric King and Daniel Loper.

If Floyd Womack does not qualify, Seattle will not receive a comp pick for him.

If Jason Wright does not qualify, Arizona will receive a comp pick for Antonio Smith in either the third round or fourth round, most likely in the third, after Cincinnati's comp pick for T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

If Brett Romberg does not qualify, Atlanta will receive a seventh-round comp pick for Grady Jackson, before Indianapolis' comp pick for Darrell Reid.

If Hunter Smith qualifies, Indianapolis will receive a seventh-round comp pick for him, after New England's comp pick for LaMont Jordan.

If Mark Jones qualifies, Carolina will receive a seventh-round comp pick for him after New England's comp pick for LaMont Jordan (and Indianapolis' comp pick for Hunter Smith, if there is one), and Tennessee will not receive a seventh-round comp pick for Daniel Loper.

If Larry Izzo qualifies, it will not affect the comp picks, because New England already will have received the maximum of four comp picks, but his name will appear on New England's list of qualifying players lost.

If Arizona, Baltimore and/or Buffalo receive net-value comp picks, they would come after Oakland's net-value pick in the seventh round.

Any combination of these additional comp picks and/or fewer comp picks being awarded could increase or reduce the number of non-compensatory picks added to the end of the draft. As I mentioned earlier, the next five teams in line for non-compensatory picks are Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle, Buffalo and Chicago.

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 or in my summary of possible other scenarios might not be awarded, if they’re not one of the 32 highest-valued comp picks. Only the 32 highest-valued comp picks will be awarded.

The NFL typically awards the compensatory picks on the second day of the Annual Meeting, which will be March 22 this year (the meeting will be March 21-24 in Orlando, Fla.). 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.

Note: For a look at why any of the 16 other teams are not projected to receive comp picks, click on the team's name to see my preliminary summary for that team — Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington. You also can click here to see the list of every UFA lost or signed who had the potential of qualifying.

## 26 comments:

Hey Adam,

Great job! I have 2 questions for you.

1) Who qualified for the Ravens. Obviously Brown, Scott and Leonhard going out for the Ravens, and possibly Boller?

Coming in, Birk, Foxworth, Carr and Kelley Washington.

2)I was wondering if you think there may be such thing as a net-value pick that does not fall in the 7th round. Has there ever been a team that lost as many big priced players as the Ravens did, and did not replace them with high priced replacements? The Ravens lost Brown (4 base + 11 signing), Scott (4.5 base + 3.5 signing) and replace them with Birk (4.5 million) and Foxworth (800k +4 signing +3.4 reporting) Not sure if bonuses count for the equation or how salary is calculated. Bottom line is the combined contracts of Brown Scott and Leonhard dwarf those signed by Foxworth and Birk, at least overall.

Baltimore lost Bart Scott, Jason Brown, Jim Leonhard and Kyle Boller. The Ravens signed Dominique Foxworth, Matt Birk, Chris Carr and L.J. Smith.

There has never been a net-value pick placed anywhere but the end of the seventh round, after all of the regular comp picks and before any non-compensatory picks. The NFL always points out when a team receives a comp pick despite not suffering a net loss of qualifying players, so it's easy to know which picks are net-value picks and exactly where they are placed.

The majority of the difference between the Ravens' signings and losses is the difference between Scott and Birk. Foxworth's value is only slightly lower than Brown's value, Carr's value is higher than Leonhard's value, and Smith's value is only slightly lower than Boller's value. When their values are combined, the difference between the four players lost and the four players signed isn't significant enough to warrant a net-value pick, according to my calculations based on previous net-value picks.

How do they calculate net value picks? What salary number do they use? I was looking at your past calculations, and the net value picks where generally small numbers. Ie. Washington in 2006 lost Smoot and Pierce and signed Rabach and Patten, the diff in salary was net value; lost $10.075 million, 24/21; signed $5.425 million, 25/23

The difference in Scotts 6yr/48 million and birks 3yr/13 million are significant, plus throw in the diff btwn Browns 37million deal and Foxworths 28million deal (I don't know what yearly numbers to use), and you have a large disparity. IS that not enough to get a net-value pick? I looked back in your previous predictions, and could not find a team in the past that was ever in the same situation as the Ravens, with equal amounts of qualifying players coming in and out, but such a big disparity in contract size. Is it possible that the league has net-value picks that fall above the 7th round, or is that just wishful thinking? And when does the league release the official list?

According to my research, the league uses the same factors for net-value picks as it does for the regular comp picks: average contract value, playing time and postseason honors.

The total values of the contracts are not relevant. It is the average value that is important. For example, a six-year contract for $30 million and a one-year contract for $5 million would be considered equal.

As I mentioned at the end of my post, the league typically announces the comp picks on the second day of the Annual Meeting. This year, that is March 22.

Have there ever been a year with zero 4th round compensatory picks ?

There has been at least one fourth-round comp pick every year since 1995, but there is no requirement for any particular number of comp picks in any particular round. It's all based on where the picks are slotted in the formula.

There have been years without comp picks in other rounds. For example, there were no third-round comp picks in either 2000 or 2003, and there were no fifth-round comp picks in 1998.

Adam: You wrote, ""If Jason Wright does not qualify, Arizona will receive a comp pick for Antonio Smith in either the third round or fourth round, most likely in the third, after Seattle's comp pick for Houshmandzadeh." Do you mean Cincy's comp pick for Houshmandzadeh? Also, fyi, Jason Wright played about 9 percent of the offensive snaps and about two-thirds of the special-teams plays for Arizona last season. Does that help?

.

Thanks, Mike. I fixed the typo.

Regarding Jason Wright, I project him to qualify based on Aaron Glenn qualifying last year. Wright's contract counts as $975,000 per season. Glenn signed for one year at $870,000 per season. That's a 12.1 percent increase. Even with the slight advantage for Glenn in playing time (he played 15.6 percent of the snaps in 2008), Wright's value is still higher than Glenn's by more than the 9.65 percent I used to project this year's cutoff points.

I would have thought the Eagles would get a higher pick for the loss of Dawkins. Does the value they sign outweigh his lost?

Thanks for any help in clearing this up and for posting this really informative sight!

Stacy Andrews' value in the formula is higher than Dawkins' value. (Dawkins signed for less than $3.4 million per season.) So, Andrews cancels out Dawkins.

Nice info, thanks for all the hard work!

Two questions, please:

1) While the formula for awarding comp picks is not public, do the GM's know it? Can a teams GM forecast, with some accuracy, what comp picks are coming to plan a complete picture for trades, free agency AND the draft?

2) Regarding Atlanta's potential 7th for Grady Jackson (which may be negated by a reserve center they signed), what are the respective salaries/playing time that allows them to perhaps cancel out? This pertains, I suppose, to the level each is slotted in.

1) Teams are not given the formula. I'm sure that many or all of them try to forecast what they'll get, but we see examples every year of teams being mistaken about what they'll get or being disappointed by what they get (or don't get) when the comp picks are awarded.

2) The key for whether Atlanta gets another comp pick is simply whether Romberg qualifies. He signed for $975,000 per season and played about 8 percent of the snaps. Last year, Aaron Glenn qualified after signing for $870,000 and playing 15.6 percent of the snaps. (Alex Stepanovich also qualified after signing for $900,000 per season and not playing at all.) According to my projections, Romberg's value in the formula is higher than Glenn's by more than the projected increase in the cutoff point for qualifying. Also, it's likely that Glenn's value was above last year's qualifying threshold by at least a little bit, so even if Romberg's value was higher by a little less than the projected increase, he still might qualify.

If Romberg does qualify, he has to cancel out someone, even if Atlanta didn't lose any players whose value falls in the seventh round. That's why Romberg, if he qualifies, will cancel out Jackson, even if Jackson's value falls in the sixth round.

Adam, Great job as usual. I always look forward to reading your Blogs. I have 2 questions.

1) In regards to net-value comp picks you have Oakland as the only team receiving one this year. What do you think the difference in value has to be to receive a net-value pick? You have Arizona as the next possible team to qualify for a net-value pick, what is their difference in value this year?

2) I noticed in your 5th and 6th round projection that you have the 1st pick of each round with a lesser value(slightly) of average contract to the 2nd pick in each round. Did you project it this way because the playing time will outweigh the small difference in contract value?

Thanks again for the work you do every year in these projections!

1) It's difficult to know for sure, because there have been only 14 of them ever awarded, and in many cases, the value of the losses was several times the value of the players signed. This year, the Raiders' one player lost has a value more than six times higher than that of the player they signed. Every other team lost less than 50 percent more value than they signed, which is less than for any net-value pick ever awarded.

2) Yes, a significant difference in playing time can outweigh a small difference in average contract value.

Adam--

Great stuff as usual.

re Chargers compensatory picks:

If Igor rates a 5th rounder, Burnett a 6th, and Goff a 7th, why would Burnett and Goff cancel? Why not Igor and Burnett?

Based on previous comp picks, a signed player cannot cancel out a lost player whose value falls in a higher round unless there are no lost players in the same round or a lower round. So, if Olshansky's value is in a higher round, Burnett will cancel out Goff. If they're both in the sixth, Burnett will cancel out Olshansky.

Thanks Adam! What about Marvell Smith from the Steelers?

He signed with the 49er then got hurt and retired. Does that preclude him from compensation?

Yes, Smith is not counted in the equation because he retired.

Adam, I've been reading regularly for some time now; thanks for all the great work and patiently answering questions.

I know your work (the formula, weighting, etc.) are proprietary, and should be after all the work you've done. Two questions then:

1. could you provide the site(s) you use for %snaps played and contract information? So much of the crap on the 'net is just that, crap. I figure if it's passed your test, I'd like to use it (for other purposes than competing with your projections, in case you were wondering)?

2. have you been approached by any NFL teams with a job offer? It would seem to me that anyone capable of getting close to the NFL's formula on his own deserves some consideration from a progressive front office.

Cheers,

Greg

Greg,

I have sources for the information I need, so I don't have to rely on media reports or unofficial estimates. Unfortunately, those things aren't made available to the public.

And no, I haven't been approached by any teams.

Hey Adam,

Great stuff. Quick question on the Vikings... wouldn't Darren Sharper signing with the Saints warrant a net value 7th rounder? He was much more valuable and had a much higher contract with the Saints than Karl Paymah had with the Vikings. Plus, he made the Pro Bowl, which adds the postseason honours into the equation.

Cheers,

Brett

Brett,

Karl Paymah qualifies for the equation, so he has to cancel out one of the Vikings' losses. The Vikings lost only two players, so Paymah has to cancel out either Birk or Sharper. Birk's value is higher than either Sharper's or Paymah's, so Paymah cancels out Sharper.

Hey Adam,

great work.

Restricted free agents who didn't receive qualifying offers from their old team become unrestricted free agents. Do those players count into the equation for compensatory picks?

Matt,

In capped years, the answer is no. When a team has a player's rights but does not tender him, he becomes a "street" free agent, and the team loses all claim to him. He is unrestricted, of course, but he is not classified as a true Unrestricted Free Agent.

We don't know for sure whether this also applies in an uncapped year for players with four or five years of experience who were not tendered (but would have been true UFAs in a capped year). My first guess is that they will not be included, because the team chose not to tender them. It will depend on exactly how the qualifications are worded. If it says that any player with four or more years of experience whose contract expired can qualify, without reference to whether they are a true UFA or whether the season is capped or uncapped, then it is possible that they will qualify. But that would seem to be an oversight in the wording of the rule, and I doubt the NFL would have such an oversight.

Quick question...

I understand the last five picks are the extra ones that are given out to teams at the top of the draft. Wouldn't the order be the same as the first round? I'm wondering, because it would be interesting to see KC get Mr. Irrelevant two years in a row.

When the NFL adds non-compensatory picks to fill out the maximum number of picks allowed, they are in the order that the eighth round would be, if there was an eighth round. It's not necessarily the same order as the first round, because each segment rotates on its own.

For example, if there were two teams tied for the worst record, the team that picked first in the first round would pick first in each odd-numbered round and second in each even-numbered round. So if there were at least two non-compensatory picks added, the team that picked second in the first round would get the highest non-compensatory pick, and the team that picked first in the first round would get the second non-compensatory pick.

This year, the Rams (1-15, Lions (2-14) and Buccaneers (3-13) are their own segments and do not rotate. The 4-12 segment is the Redskins and Chiefs, with the Redskins picking first in odd-numbered rounds and the Chiefs picking first in even-numbered rounds. So, the Chiefs would get the fourth non-compensatory pick, if there are at least four. The Redskins would get the fifth one, if there are at least five.

The 5-11 segment is the Seahawks, Browns and Raiders. With each round, the segment rotates upward, with the team that picked first in the previous round dropping to the bottom of the segment in the next round. So in the hypothetical "eighth round," if there are more than five non-compensatory picks added, the Browns would be highest in the segment, followed by the Raiders and the Seahawks.

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