The Compensatory Pick And The Cardinals

It appeared to me yesterday - after posting a fanshot that the Cardinals could get an extra 3rd round pick - that many of us aren't aware of the compensatory picks. Every year, the NFL awards several teams with compensatory picks at their annual meetings which take place later this month. They use a "secret" formula to determine which teams will receive any extra picks in the draft. If you remember, the Cardinals received an extra 7th-round pick last year and used it on Trevor Canfield.

A blogger named AdamJT13 seems to have figured out the equation, and has been predicting the picks for the last nine seasons and has averaged 24.4 out of 32 picks correct for the last seven seasons. So when he predicts something for the Cardinals, I'd take it fairly seriously. AdamJT13 provides a summery here:

As the NFL explains, compensatory picks are awarded to teams that lose more or better compensatory free agents than they acquire. The number of picks a team can receive equals the net loss of compensatory free agents, up to a maximum of four. Compensatory free agents are determined by a secret formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. Not every free agent lost or signed is covered by the formula.

We'll go over some more details after the jump...

I'm not an expert on how the formula works but to my understanding, a team will receive the extra pick based on the previous years losses(unrestricted free agents signing with a different team). That team can cancel out that extra pick however, by signing a UFA of the same value. AdamJT13 provided an example below:

For example, consider a team that loses one qualifying player whose value falls in the third round and another qualifying player whose value falls in the sixth round but signs a qualifying player whose value falls in the third round. That team would receive a sixth-round comp pick because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the higher-valued player. If the signed player’s value were equal to a fourth-round pick or lower, however, the team would receive a third-round comp pick, because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the lower-valued player.

The equation also has several rules to remember, which AdamJT13 states: "In order to qualify for the comp equation, a player must have been a true Unrestricted Free Agent whose contract had expired or was voided after the previous season (i.e., he cannot have been released by his old team); he must sign during the UFA signing period (which ended July 27 last year)"

That means that Antrel Rolle leaving does not count. He doesn't confirm whether the Cardinals will receive a compensation pick because it all depends on whether or not the NFL will determine if Jason Wright will cancel out the free agent loss of Antonio Smith. AdamJT13 believes the Cardinals could get an extra 3rd round pick or possibly a 4th:

If Jason Wright does not qualify, Arizona will receive a comp pick for Antonio Smith in either the third round or fourth round, most likely in the third, after Cincinnati's comp pick for T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

If you have any questions or want more info I'll do my best to answer. Otherwise, head over to, AdamJT13: Projecting the 2010 Compensatory NFL Draft Picks.

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