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.

22 responses to “Some teams are using option years to enhance compensatory draft picks

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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