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View Full Version : Sporting News Article - Compensatory Picks Not Sexy, But They Work


alittlejazzbird
03-07-2007, 02:37 PM
Interesting article...note the paragraph in bold about teams who've had the most success over the past 10 years.

Losing free agent to another team not always a bad thing thanks to draft
OPINION
By Dan Pompei, The Sporting News

Go ahead, sign my free-agent linebacker. The running back, too. Pay them outrageous contracts and then make sure they put up big numbers next season.

And, no, we're not interested in playing the free-agent game and bringing in another team's discards. We'll stand pat.

If these statements came from an NFL front office, the team in question might face boycotts, riots and even the wraths of NFL experts ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Willie Brown.

Hidden in the statements, however, might be true genius.

See, teams that lose free agents and don't replace them with other teams' free agents are awarded compensatory draft picks by the NFL. And though those picks are an afterthought in most analyses of how teams are built, comp picks might have a lot more to say about tomorrow's Super Bowls than free agents.

Over the past 10 years, the teams that had the most compensatory picks were the Packers, Cowboys, Ravens, Rams, Eagles, Patriots, Bucs, Jaguars, Bears, Steelers and Titans. Only two of those 11 teams -- the Cowboys and Jaguars -- failed to reach the Super Bowl during that stretch.

In the same time frame, the teams with the fewest compensatory picks were the Browns, Texans, Jets, Bengals, Panthers, Falcons, Redskins, Chargers, Colts and Saints. Only two of those teams -- the Panthers and Colts -- played in a Super Bowl in that period.

Coincidence? I think not.

Compensatory picks are awarded to teams that lose more unrestricted free agents than they sign (players who are cut do not factor into the equation). The highest selection a team can get as compensation is a pick at the end of the third round.

The formula by which comp picks are awarded is a more closely guarded secret than the recipe for the Colonel's greasy chicken. Even NFL teams don't know it. But the picks are determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and the players acquired, as well as by the performances of the players. At least part of the formula is subjective.

No team has played the compensatory pick game better than the Ravens. They have allowed some fine players to leave as free agents -- including linebacker Ed Hartwell, running back Chester Taylor, cornerback Gary Baxter, defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu, end Anthony Weaver, safety Will Demps, center Jeff Mitchell and corner Duane Starks. But with compensatory picks, they have drafted Taylor, fullback Ovie Mughelli, offensive tackle Tony Pashos and guard Edwin Mulitalo, among others.

The Patriots also have hit the compensatory jackpot by using bonus picks to take quarterback Tom Brady, guard Nick Kaczur and fullback Patrick Pass.

The compensatory pick system rewards teams that draft well and avoid looking for a quick fix. They select a player who becomes a starter. They lose him as a free agent and he gets a lucrative contract, so they are rewarded with a prime compensatory pick. Then they have a chance to draft a player of commensurate abilities who takes up less salary cap space.

"The key is not to panic and have faith in the process," says Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "Where you get in trouble is when you lose free agents and try to compensate by signing other free agents. The comp picks often have more value than the free agents you could sign."

The Patriots probably will come out ahead by allowing tight end Daniel Graham to leave as a free agent and getting a third-round compensatory pick in 2008 in return (assuming they don't sign a high-priced free agent from another team).

Having 11 picks instead of seven gives the draft room a different hue. It's a lot easier to talk yourself out of reaching for a player in the third round when you know you have two fourth-round picks to play with. With comp picks, teams might be more willing to gamble on a workout wonder, as the Ravens did with cornerback Derrick Martin last year; or select a specialty player, as the Chiefs did with punter Dustin Colquitt two years ago; or even a luxury quarterback, as the Packers did with Aaron Brooks in 1999.

Compensatory picks open up a world of possibilities. Even though they can't be traded, they clear avenues for other trades, both within the draft and outside of it. One reason the Ravens felt comfortable trading a sixth-round pick to move up in the first round to select defensive tackle Haloti Ngata last year is they had four comp picks in their arsenal.

Three months later, the Ravens were unconcerned about parting with a fourth-round pick to acquire quarterback Steve McNair from the Titans because they anticipated receiving a fourth-round compensatory pick for the loss of Kemoeatu to the Panthers.

The Ravens and other teams are expected to find out in the last week of March what comp picks have been awarded for the 2007 draft. The announcement won't get much attention.

But it probably should, given that the road to the Super Bowl is often lined with compensatory picks.

? 2007 The Sporting News
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17486531/

SteelShooter
03-10-2007, 01:20 PM
Interesting article....Thanks for posting this info!

Although we still have a week or two before we find out what we will/will not receive this year as far as compensatory picks go, does anyone have any idea what we may end up with?

I'm thinking we may not do well this year since most of our losses were cuts, prior to their contracts ending. This may also be made even smaller by any F/A signings we complete (ie; the OL and LB we recently interviewed).

Right now, I am guessing only one, maybe two at the most...............

BTW, I am still hoping for a high ranking power back out of the draft, even though I doubt we will do that after Najeh's re-signing.

tony hipchest
03-10-2007, 05:37 PM
Interesting article....Thanks for posting this info!

Although we still have a week or two before we find out what we will/will not receive this year as far as compensatory picks go, does anyone have any idea what we may end up with?

I'm thinking we may not do well this year since most of our losses were cuts, prior to their contracts ending. This may also be made even smaller by any F/A signings we complete (ie; the OL and LB we recently interviewed).

Right now, I am guessing only one, maybe two at the most...............

BTW, I am still hoping for a high ranking power back out of the draft, even though I doubt we will do that after Najeh's re-signing. yeah, i found something on this about a week ago:

Re: Compensatory Picks????

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pat kirwan just gave an educated guess that the steelers will get a:

4th for hope
5th for el
7th for kimo

i would venture to say that kirwans "guess" is gonna be spot on.

and while i never got around to responding to this article alittlejazzbird posted, i have to say it is excelent and something many teams in the nfl have yet to figure out.

polamalufan43
03-10-2007, 07:37 PM
Thanks for the info, great read. I guess we are in decent shape, not the best but not the worst.

~Polamalufan43:tt02: