Compensatory picks signal success

NFL Draft Compensatory picks signal success

Posted in NFL Draft
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Usually during the Owner’s Meetings in March the league announces the schedule for week 1 of the upcoming NFL season along with the compensatory picks for deserving teams. Given the league’s labor strife, those announcements will be delayed by a week or so.

Compensatory picks are determined by a formula that was the brainchild of the NFL Management Council. The intent is to help offset team losses suffered by departed free agents. Teams that are eligible to receive compensatory picks are those that lost more or better players during the previous season’s free agency period than they were able to acquire. The number of picks a team receives is equal to the net loss of free agents. The maximum number of compensatory picks any team can receive is four.

Now the formula is known only to the league’s secret agent man who carries his little algebraic formula into clandestine places only he knows.

Well surely I jest, sort of.

That said, the formula is not even known by GM’s around the league although I’m sure they’ve dialed into it fairly closely by now. The pi II Formula hinges on the average annual value of the free agent contract signed by the departing player with some adjustments for playing time and to a lesser degree, postseason awards.

So sign some guy from another team, pay him big bucks, play him a lot and maybe send him to Hawaii and the team that lost said guy just might get a pretty decent draft pick as compensation. The Ravens have benefitted in that way.

In fact since their inception the Ravens have received more compensatory picks than any other club.

But what does that mean? That they’re too cheap to keep their good players?

Well that’s a matter of opinion but seeing how most lost free agents have performed at levels less than they did while a Raven, it’s safe to say that Ozzie Newsome has an eye for talent and understands when it’s time to replenish the losses vis-à-vis the draft. More importantly however, the fact that the Ravens have had more compensatory picks than any other team since 1996, suggests that other teams value the Ravens’ players and therefore their draft picks.

Now it makes sense that bad teams want players from good teams (who have rosters deep in talent) so naturally the bad teams looking to be more competitive will go after the players who play on successful teams.

That’s common sense, right?

But how do good teams remain good when others are pilfering their rosters AND they aren’t signing free agents given the number of compensatory picks they’ve received.

Check out this chart and for the most part you will find consistently successful teams at the top – teams that lose the most free agents yet remain successful. Teams like New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Green Bay and Philadelphia (and to some degree St. Louis who dominated in the early 2000’s) remain competitive.

But why?

It’s all about the talents in their respective draft day war rooms.

Quality teams are built through the draft.

That’s just how it works and the aforementioned chart in many ways proves it.

Oh and by the way, look for the Ravens to pick up another pair of comp picks – one for Dwan Edwards (5 or 6) and another for Justin Bannan (likely a 5).


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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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