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Although It Doesn’t Add Up, Ravens Expect 4 Comp Picks

Salary Cap Although It Doesn’t Add Up, Ravens Expect 4 Comp Picks

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Team Will Have 8 Draft Picks in May, McKinnie Pick Will Come In 2015


NOTE:  Since this article was posted this morning, Russell Street Report has learned that the Ravens will definitely receive a Compensatory pick for Ed Reed.  The below article erroneously states that Reed was released by Houston after week 9, when in fact, he was released after week 10.  Reed was on the Texans  roster for 9 games, but the Texans’ Bye week occurred during week 7, so Reed was not released until after week 10.  This is important because a Ravens team source has indicated that the cutoff for receiving a Comp pick is week 10.  So, as the article below states, had Reed been released after week 9, the Ravens would not have received a Comp pick, but because he lasted 1 more week, his signing will qualify the Ravens for a Comp pick. ~ Brian


On Saturday, Jamison Hensley on his ESPN Blog indicated that the Ravens will be receiving four (4) Compensatory draft picks:

@Jamison Hensley: The Ravens will get the league-maximum four compensatory picks, including one for Ed Reed.

Even though he was released, the secret equation that the NFL uses to determine these picks is based on the size of the contract as well as playing time for the new team. So, here are the four players that the Ravens will get compensatory picks for: Reed, linebacker Paul Kruger, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Cary Williams.

While stated as fact, there is no real explanation for this belief or attribution to any source indicating such, so it’s unclear the basis of Hensley’s statement.

This is an issue because, while the Ravens would have most certainly been expecting 4 Comp picks last offseason, Ed Reed’s short and tumultuous stay in Houston has called that into question.

For whatever reason, the NFL Management Council has shrouded the rules for the granting Comp picks in great secrecy. Much of what is publicly known about Comp pick comes from an internet poster, AdamJT13, who for years did Comp Pick projections.

Adam, the “guru” of Comp picks, was always very accurate in his projections (over 75% projected exactly – team and round – and usually over 90% within a round) and thanks to his “teachings”, much of the mystery of the Comp pick formula has been learned. Unfortunately, Adam hasn’t posted any projections since 2010 and has disappeared from cyberspace.

What we have learned from Adam’s work is that under the NFL’s Comp Pick rules, if a team loses more qualifying Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) than it signs, the team will be awarded Comp Picks for the difference in those two numbers (up to a maximum of 4). In order for a free agent to count for Comp Pick purposes, though, he must be a true UFA, which means that his contract with his prior team has expired. As such, any player released by his prior team will not count – as a gain or loss – for Comp Pick purposes.

The round of the Comp pick (Comp picks are awarded only at the ends of rounds 3-7) is initially set by the yearly average of the contract. “Performance” can then raise or lower the Comp pick by a round. Performance in the positive direction is measured by postseason honors (i.e. Pro-Bowl, MVP). Performance in the negative direction is measured by a lack of playing time.

The belief that the Ravens may not receive a Comp pick for Ed Reed arises from the fact that Reed was released by Houston after week 9 of the season (in which he only started 5 of the 7 games he played) and wasn’t claimed on waivers by anyone. Reed did later sign with the Jets, but that was a totally new contract, so his time with the Jets wouldn’t factor into the Comp pick calculation. In the past, players who have been released during their first season have not qualified for a Comp pick. As Adam explained in 2010 regarding WR Bobby Engram not qualifying for a Comp pick:

Engram’s situation is a little less complicated. He was released by Kansas City on Monday, Nov. 9, which was the last day of Week 9 and the start of Week 10. Previous cases of players being released during the season seem to indicate that players who are released by Week 10 and not claimed off waivers will not qualify for the comp picks equation. For that reason, I am projecting that Engram will not qualify, but because he released close to the deadline, it is possible that he will qualify.

Now, Engram played far less with Kansas City in 2010, than Reed did with Houston last season, so there definitely is a difference between the two scenarios, but based on Adam’s experience, it would appear that Reed would not qualify for a Comp pick.

However, in past years, there have been some unknown rules that have come to light only when they were applied for the first time.

In 2009, the Pittsburgh Steelers were dismayed to only receive a 5th round Comp pick when Guard Alan Faneca signed a fat contract with the New York Jets. At that time, it was revealed that a team could receive no higher than a 5th round pick when losing a player with 10+ years of experience.

In 2011, the Ravens were happy to receive a Comp pick for a player lost because the signing of DE Cory Redding did not count as a true UFA for Comp pick purposes because when he was in Seattle prior to signing with the Ravens, he and the Seahawks had renegotiated his contract and removed a couple of years from his contract. Because of this – he became a free agent sooner than the original contract called for – Seattle was not entitled to claim him as a loss, and therefore, he wasn’t counted as a gain for the Ravens.

So, in Reed’s case, perhaps there is some nuance that will apply, after all, he is probably the most highly paid free agent to ever be released by his team after only 9 games.

What Russell Street Report has learned from a Ravens team source, though, is that the Ravens do expect to receive 4 Compensatory picks. The Ravens’ front office was aware of the rule that allowed Cory Redding to not apply in 2011, so while some teams over the years have appeared to be unaware of some of the Comp pick rules the Ravens have always seemed to be on top of them.

Obviously, in fact, based on GM Ozzie Newsome’s statement at the season-ending State of the Ravens press conference, the Ravens pay very close attention to the intricacies of the rules and have purposely used them to their advantage over the years. In fact, since Comp picks began in 1994, the Ravens have acquired more Comp picks than any other team in the league (even though the Ravens only started in 1996).

As such, the Ravens will likely head into the draft in May with 8 draft picks. After trading their 4th and 5th round picks to Jacksonville for OT Eugene Monroe and their 7th to Indianapolis for Guard AQ Shipley, the Ravens will still have four of their own draft picks – their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th – plus the 4 Comp picks.

Based on the size of contracts received, it is likely that the Ravens will receive two 4th round Comp picks, a 5th and a 7th.   It is possible that Paul Kruger would qualify for a 3rd, but probably unlikely.   Ed Reed would have qualified as a 5th round Comp, but his release would lessen that.  He could be a 6th, but the guess here is that it will be a 7th.

Russell Street Report has also learned from the same team source that the conditional draft pick due from the Miami Dolphins for the trade of OT Bryant McKinnie is actually a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. The stipulations of the conditional pick were not disclosed, but it would appear that McKinnie’s play in 2014 may also factor into which round that choice will ultimately fall in.

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Brian McFarland

About Brian McFarland

Known on Ravens Message Boards as "B-more Ravor", Brian is a life-long Baltimorean and an avid fan of the Ravens and all Baltimore sports.  A PSL holder since 1998, Brian has garnered a reputation as a cap-guru because of his strange (actually warped) desire to wade through the intricacies of the NFL's salary cap and actually make sense of it for those of us who view it as inviting as IRS Tax Code.      Brian, who hails from Catonsville, MD and still resides there, is married and has two children. More from Brian McFarland


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