As NFL teams consider whether to sign free agents, an often-overlooked aspect of the decision-making process is attaining compensatory picks the following year. This year, no team better set itself up for compensatory picks than the Cardinals.
Today was the deadline for any free agent signings to affect next year’s compensatory pick total, and it appears that the Cardinals will have the best haul of compensatory picks in 2018. According to OverTheCap.com, the Cardinals will likely receive four picks for free agents who signed elsewhere this offseason: a third-round pick for Calais Campbell, a fourth-round pick for Tony Jefferson, a sixth-round pick for Marcus Cooper and a sixth-round pick for D.J. Swearinger.
The Packers, who always do well on compensatory picks, are expected to pick up a third-round pick for T.J. Lang, a fifth-round pick for J.C. Tretter and a sixth-round pick for Eddie Lacy. And four other teams are expected to get third-round compensatory picks: The Texans for A.J. Bouye, the Broncos for Russell Okung, the Bengals for Kevin Zeitler and the Ravens for Ricky Wagner.
It’s not a certainty that it will end up that way. The NFL doesn’t publish the compensatory pick formula, so no one knows for sure exactly how they’re awarded. And the awarding of 2018 compensatory picks is based in part on free agents’ playing time during the 2017 season, so this can still change. But for now, the Cardinals are in great shape.