In free agency comments threads about compensatory picks, there have been a few questions: what are they, how do they work, what kind of compensatory pick can we expect for player X...
I did a small amount of work and came up with the following:
Excerpts from a 2013 NFL press release regarding compensatory picks described the process of assigning picks as follows:
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.
… the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a team is covered by this formula.
Based on 2013 draft compensatory picks and predicted 2014 draft compensatory picks (this guy is really really good), and with a little help from google, I came up with this framework of compensatory pick assignment based on easily found contract information.
AAV vs round:
9-12M – 3rd
5.5-8.5M – 4th
3.5-6M – 5th
2.5-4.2M – 6th
less than 2.3M – 7th
These approximations vary quite a bit from year to year, with performance and playing time likely composing part of the difference between salary and pick value, but perhaps also based on league wide spending on FAs. Obviously, this framework is inexact, but at least it’s a framework.
On a side note, the Seahawks are extremely unlikely to receive any compensatory picks in 2013 after a net inflow of free agent number/value in signing Avril and Bennett and a handful of low value FA contracts that contributed significantly (McDaniel, Schofield, Tarvaris, Kellen Davis).