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Some teams are using option years to enhance compensatory draft picks

As the NFL’s offseason quickly pivots to the negotiation of new contracts, some teams have been using a device aimed at enhancing their standing under the convoluted formula for determining compensatory draft picks.

A league source recently pointed out that the Patriots and 49ers have been using option years on the back end of player contracts. This allows the team, if/when ready to move on, to let the contract lapse without picking up the option. Absent option language, the team has to cut the player if it wants to move on.

The different is significant. If an option isn’t picked up, the player becomes a free agent and, if he signs with a new team before May 11, the departure counts toward the determination of compensatory draft picks. If the team cuts the player, the compensatory formula doesn’t apply.

Look for more teams to begin using this approach, primarily because there’s no downside to it. That said, this emerging trend¬†underscores the reality that player contracts have value only to the extent that money is fully and completely guaranteed at signing.

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22 Responses to “Some teams are using option years to enhance compensatory draft picks”
  1. lgw91s says: Feb 13, 2017 6:23 PM

    I was wondering how they got compensatory consideration for Revis on the two year contract. Smart.

  2. ibillwt says: Feb 13, 2017 6:33 PM

    You mean to tell me that Belichick has been a step ahead of other GMs?? Shocking, because I always read what a terrible GM he is. I guess the explanation is that he has been highly improbably lucky for 17 straight years. Or maybe he cheats on draft day, yeah that’s it the SOB must be cheating, I knew it! Otherwise I’d have to admit that he’s also the Greatest GM of all time. It’s bad enough that everyone already recognizes that he is the GOAT Coach.

  3. jag1959 says: Feb 13, 2017 6:36 PM

    The surprise is that all teams aren’t doing it

  4. key2heat says: Feb 13, 2017 6:42 PM

    loop holes and blatent cheating is the Patriot way

  5. patsfan says: Feb 13, 2017 7:00 PM

    option years also increase AAV giveing the agents a chance to crow and allow the team some cost certainty going forward.

    Yep, it is smart, but it is no revelation – when Reveis signed his contract, everyone commented that it was a one year deal in reality.

    Are the Patriots better at it? The real question is why are other teams worse at it.

  6. southpaw79 says: Feb 13, 2017 7:09 PM

    No wonder the Patriots are always good and the Niners have a million draft picks each year. If the Niners new front office can draft half way decent, look out.

  7. tigerlilac says: Feb 13, 2017 7:11 PM

    Belichick is very good at getting value on both the front end and back end of personnel moves.

    He often picks up players that other teams don’t have a good fit by just exchanging draft posions of nominal difference. He then gets higher compensatory value after the player proves himself with the Patriots. The Patriots received 4, 1, and 4 compensatory picks in 2016, 2015, and 2014 respectively.

    The Patriots always have a deep bench due to such roster moves which helps keep the team strong late in the season and into the playoffs.

  8. micronin127 says: Feb 13, 2017 7:45 PM

    I’m pretty sure that Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are adept at this too.

  9. clarencewhorley says: Feb 13, 2017 7:49 PM

    Bill Belichick should win coach and executive of the year every season.

    He is by far the best GM. Ozzie Newsome who everyone says is the best GM always says Bill taught him everything.

    Can’t wait for the Ravens to cut Keenan Reynolds for good so he can become Julian Edelman 2.0

    He made a mistake aigning with the Ravens practice squad

  10. 60for90 says: Feb 13, 2017 7:52 PM

    Finding talent to play your style of football is more important than finding talent.

  11. celticsforever says: Feb 13, 2017 7:54 PM

    John Harbaugh is currently trying to get on the compensatory draft pick committee.

  12. 60for90 says: Feb 13, 2017 7:57 PM

    Finding talent that plays within your system is more important than finding talent.

  13. thecape15 says: Feb 13, 2017 8:40 PM

    Once again, BB is leading the pack (SF too, on this)

    The league constantly emulates him.

    – Do your job- everyone says it now
    -Defer the kick off
    -Get announced as a team and not individually

    I could go on and on.

  14. switchwitch59 says: Feb 13, 2017 8:57 PM

    Great picture!!!!

  15. Mike Tomlin says: Feb 13, 2017 8:58 PM

    No, the Ravens let top talent go in exchange for end of 3rd and 4th round comp picks which don’t pan out as well as their guys. This is why they’re void of talent beyond the old guys and have missed the playoffs 3 of the past 4 seasons.

  16. noknoknokpenny says: Feb 13, 2017 9:10 PM

    Goodell takes off the big red nose just long enough to take away four of the Patriots’ first round picks for “Harming the integrity of the game by exploiting the idiotic salary cap rules that were put in place by the league office.”

    Separately, Stevie Biscuits and Woody J send lavish Valentine’s day gifts to Roger. These include Russell Stover candies and women’s underwear.

  17. cmich2006 says: Feb 13, 2017 9:14 PM

    Other way around…options don’t count toward the formula for granting picks…look at Kelvin Beachum and the jags

  18. nolasoxfan2012 says: Feb 13, 2017 9:43 PM

    Shocker that it’s a league source pointing this out.

  19. edahlb says: Feb 13, 2017 10:36 PM

    There’s an easy fix for this, just treat non-exercised option years as the player was cut, when awarding compensatory draft picks.

  20. ratsfoiledagain says: Feb 13, 2017 10:46 PM

    Team X doesn’t want Y player. Y player signs with team Z because team X chose to not keep player Y. Team X gets rewarded as compensation. Stupid.

  21. pats777 says: Feb 13, 2017 11:22 PM

    loop holes and blatent cheating is the Patriot way
    LOL! You forgot about BB constantly running up the score in your little rant. We all know that was proven to be so true after the Super Bowl and that a 4 touchdown lead is a guaranteed win in this league…. Oh wait.

  22. hehateme2 says: Feb 14, 2017 9:16 AM

    figured the pats* were behind this. They will never learn.

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