Free agency is now raging full force, with the Seattle Seahawks having already lost wide receiver Paul Richardson to the Washington Redskins and tight end Jimmy Graham to the Green Bay Packers. In addition the team has added linebacker Barkevious Mingo to the roster, which the team’s toe officially into the water.
With these transactions taking place, some common questions regarding comp picks and the way the NFL allocates them have popped up in the comments and on social media. Rather than address those in a one off matter, I’ll address many of the questions here, and if readers have further questions that I don’t address, they can ask them in the comments and I can then update the article to reflect the new answers (or write a new article, depending on how many questions are posted).
Before we get into the questions, however, here’s the estimate for comp picks through the end of the day Wednesday from OverTheCap.com.
At the first night of the 2018 league year, there are already 27 regular 2019 compensatory picks on the board: pic.twitter.com/YY3z5q9yqX— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) March 15, 2018
So, here are some of the most common questions that I have seen thus far.
No comp pick for Paul Richardson?— Thomas Adams (@TADAMS1959) March 15, 2018
The way the comp picks are distributed, the maximum number of comp picks a team may receive is equal to the net difference between free agents signed and free agents lost. At this point in time, Seattle has lost two free agents (Prich and Graham) and signed one (Mingo), meaning that the team is only eligible to receive one comp pick.
If another of the team’s free agent signs elsewhere, whether that be Luke Joeckel, Luke Willson, Oday Aboushi, Matt Tobin, Eddie Lacy or any other free agent whose contract expired, the team will have lost three free agents while adding one, meaning they are eligible to receive two comp picks.
Does Rawls count?— It takes two years to Mingo (@karatemanchan37) March 15, 2018
No, as a restricted free agent who did not receive a RFA tender offer from the Seahawks, Rawls will not count in the comp pick calculation for either Seattle or the team that signs him.
Good for Shead.. do we get a comp pick for him?— JonesInmyBones (@SJones206) March 15, 2018
No comp pick will be awarded for DeShawn Shead’s departure from Seattle. Shead was cut by the Seahawks, and players who are cut are not counted for comp pick purposes. That means players like Eric Ebron, Ndamukong Suh, Richard Sherman and Shead do not factor into the awarding of comp picks.
@DavisHsuSeattle if the the Seahawks were to sign Sitton do you know if that counts against comp picks since his option was denied and he was not just outright cut?— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch89) March 13, 2018
Since Sitton had an option that went unexercised, he is a free agent that will be considered in the comp pick calculations. Since he was not cut, and his contract expired naturally as a result of the non-exercise of the option, Sitton will count in comp pick calculation.
Ask away with whatever other questions fans have, and I’ll do my best to get answers posted in as timely a manner as I can.
This very pertinent question was asked in another thread, so I’ll go ahead and bring it on in to answer here.
In the draft there are 256 selections. Each team is initially allocated seven selections in the draft, and those 224 selections comprise the core of the draft. The remaining 32 picks are compensatory picks (“comp picks” for short) that are held by the league and allocated to the teams who suffered the largest net loss of players in the offseason the year prior to the draft. The picks are allocated based on a secret formula that the league has never made public, but which many followers of the NFL have reverse engineered to the point where they are able to predict with near certainty which teams will be awarded a pick and in which rounds.
In short, the teams which suffer the largest net losses in free agency this season of players who are considered in comp pick calculations this year will be awarded up to four picks from the league’s allotment of 32 comp picks in the 2019 draft.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
Comp picks are placed at the end of rounds 3 through 7, and the round in which a team is awarded a comp pick is determined based on the size of the contract the player signed, with some flexibility afforded to the league to adjust for playing time, performance and other factors. For example, I have seen reports that if the player is cut early in the season (I believe before week 10), the player is no longer factored into comp pick calculations.
A team signing its own free agents has zero impact on comp pick calculations. Seattle could sign all of their own free agents – Lacy, Joeckel, Willson, Aboushi, Sheldon Richardson and all the rest – and they would still retain the comp pick for Graham signing with Green Bay.
Comp pick calculations only take into account players gained and lost relative to the prior season, and any contracts with players who were on the roster the previous season are neither additions nor subtractions, and are therefore irrelevant to the calculations.