2015 compensatory picks loom over possible deadline deals

For teams considering the possibility of trading players in a contract year, an important factor creeps into the equation.

Balanced against possible draft-pick compensation for 2014 is the likely impact of the player’s departure through free agency on the compensatory picks to be distributed in 2015.

It’s a complex formula that few completely understand.  The NFL doesn’t publish the rules, and the league did not respond to an email sent Monday by PFT regarding the procedure for determining compensatory picks.

Per a league source who was reluctant to say too much on the topic, the NFL look at various factors when assessing compensatory draft picks, including the total average of the player’s contracts, his playing time, his Pro Bowl appearances.  Age is a factor, if the player is on his third contract.

The most compensatory picks that any team can get in any year is four.

One common misconception comes from the idea that one compensatory pick is provided for each player lost in free agency.  The league office determines compensatory picks based on net gains and losses in free agency, for transactions occurring from the start of the league year through June 1.  During that window, free-agency arrivals can cancel out free-agency losses for compensatory-pick purposes.

After June 1, free-agency acquisitions don’t count toward the compensatory pick calculation, either for the player’s former team or his new team.  It’s one of the reasons the Ravens waited until after June 1 to sign former Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith.

That’s why some teams will resist signing unrestricted free agents in March, April, or May, opting instead to sign veterans whose contracts were terminated due to cap reasons or otherwise.

Like everything else in football, some teams navigate this issue better than others.  Regardless, any team thinking about trading a player due to become a free agent in 2014 needs to attempt to project what losing the player via free agency will do to its compensatory picks for 2015.

19 responses to “2015 compensatory picks loom over possible deadline deals

  1. The “Number 4″ may be amount of wins the Eagles will have this year but the ” Number 4″ also stands for a few other things

    “Number 4” – how many head coaches RG3 will have in Washington before his departure

    “Number 4” – how many total playoffs wins for Tony Romo when he retires

    “Number 4” – how many boxes of tissues Dez “Why Cry” Bryant went thru Sunday night

    “Number 4” – Steelers overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

    “Number 4” – RG3’s fantasy points last week

  2. Uhh those math equations are pretty complicated for these guys. Many of these teams can’t even figure out that the huge salary liability of some of these players puts them into the “negative absolute value” category.

    In other words, these teams often struggle with picking between negative numbers and non-negative numbers.

    There is no sport in the world where all the teams are completely inept at basic math skills, let alone advanced math skills.

    And hey I thought the Ravens were hiring some fancy pants mathematician this year, how’s that helping out so far?

  3. This article could have been more insightful with a few real world examples. Take the Vikings (please), they have signed two free agents in the off season, one prior to June 1st (Greg Jennings) and the other after.

    So by not trading Jared Allen, the Vikings don’t automatically accrue a third round comp pick as some nitwits (or Viking fans, the terms are interchangeable) are suggesting.

    Not yet knowing the contract Allen will get, there is a better than even chance the Vikings will get nothing because the Jennings contract will cancel out whatever Allen signs for.

    So in conclusion, the Vikings should immediately trade Allen for a conditional 7th rounder.

  4. There are two equations I cold have screwed up the square root part of it. It’s only been 30 years since I took pre-calculus. Equation 1 is on two lines and equation 2 is the third line. MDAS (My Dear Aunt Sally)

    Equation 1

    Equations 2

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