The compensatory draft system has for years caused teams to adjust their interest in unrestricted free agents, refraining from signing them or delaying the pursuit in order to maximize free-agency losses and to minimize gains. All in the hopes of getting the most possible compensatory draft picks the following year.
Under the proposed CBA, that will change. According to the summary provided over the weekend by the NFL Players Association to all players, the system will be revised to exclude “many ‘Core Veterans'” from the equation. Specifically, players who sign one-year deals and who make less than $1.75 million won’t count toward the gains and losses, incentivizing teams to sign those players sooner than later.
The problem, of course, is that teams will find a way to use that shield for players as a sword against them, making take-it-or-leave-it offers of one-year, $1.75 million deals for lower-level free agents with the “or else” being that they won’t be signed until after the compensatory selection formula shuts off in May. So they’ll have to decide whether to take a $1.75 million bird in the hand or wait for whatever they can get later.
Regardless, this is the first meaningful change to the compensatory draft pick system, arguably since the system was first adopted.