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Projecting the 2007 compensatory picks
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AdamJT13


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:58 am    Post subject: Projecting the 2007 compensatory picks Reply with quote

For the sixth consecutive year and seventh overall, I've attempted to project all of the compensatory draft picks that the NFL will award. In my past four projections, I've averaged 25.0 out of 32 exactly correct (going to the correct team in the correct round) and have been off by only one round on an average of 4.0 more. However, I'm not expecting to be that successful this year. For several reasons, these projections were the most difficult since my first attempt in 1998.

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.

Although the formula has never been revealed, by studying the compensatory picks that have been awarded since they began in 1993, I've determined that the primary factor in the value of the picks awarded appears to be the average annual value of the contract the player signed with his new team, with an adjustment for playing time and a smaller adjustment for postseason honors. A simple method of determining for which qualifying free agents a team will be compensated is this -- for every player signed, cancel out a lost player of similar value. For example, if a team signs one qualifying player for $2 million per season and loses two qualifying players, one who got $1.8 million per season and one who got $4 million per season, the team will be compensated for the $4 million player.

It is possible for a team to get a compensatory pick even if it doesn't suffer a net loss of qualifying free agents, although those kind of comp picks come at the end of the seventh round, after the normal comp picks and before the non-compensatory picks that are added if fewer than 32 comp picks are awarded. There have been 11 of these "net value" type of comp picks awarded, and in each case, the combined value of the free agents lost was significantly higher than the combined value of the free agents signed. In all 11 cases, those teams lost the same number of qualifying free agents as they signed. No team has ever been awarded a comp pick after signing more qualifying free agents than they lost, no matter how significant the difference in combined value.

I should note that my comp pick formula is merely an attempt to project the results of the actual (secret) formula, which I'm sure is more precise and complicated than my simple simulation. I don't pretend to know the actual formula. But I think previous results indicate that my formula is a pretty good simulation.

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 24 last year); if he signs after June 1, he must have been tendered a June 1 qualifying offer by his old team; he must sign for at least a certain amount of money per season; and he cannot have been permanently released by his new team before a certain point in the season (which seems to be after Week 10) or, possibly, before getting a certain amount of playing time, unless he was claimed off waivers by another team.

The most difficult part about projecting the comp picks is determining all of the cutoff points -- the minimum salary needed to qualify and the value ranges for each round of compensatory picks. In the past, I'd take the previous year's approximate cutoff points and increase them by the same percentage as the increase in RFA tenders for the previous season, which was roughly the increase in the salary cap before any league-wide adjustments. However, the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement revision and the jump in the salary cap that came with it make that a questionable thing to do this year. The RFA tenders increased 10 percent, the salary cap increased 19.3 percent, the rookie minimum salary increased 19.6 percent, the four-year veteran minimum salary increased 8.3 percent, and the seven-year veteran minimum salary increased 6.0 percent. The NFL could have used any one of those increases in the comp formula -- or it could have used a completely different number. And there's no telling if or how the formula was changed in new CBA. After a thorough review of all of the information I've collected, I took a wild guess and increased the cutoff point for qualifying by a small percentage and the cutoff points for each round of comp picks by increasingly larger percentages.

Last year, the lowest-paid player who qualified for the NFL's comp equation was Antowain Smith, who signed for $690,000 per season, played in all 16 games and started seven games. The highest-paid player who is known to have not qualified was Idrees Bashir ($640,000), but two years ago, three players signed for at least $660,000 per season and did not qualify. This year, there are three players who seem to be on the bubble for qualifying and eight players that would seem to be above the bubble but could be disqualified if the NFL uses a larger increase than I did for the minimum salary needed to qualify. The three bubble players are Chad Williams ($700,000 per season, 15 Games Played/1 Game Started), Keith Newman ($710,000, 11 GP/0 GS, cut Dec. 12 after 13 games) and Corey Ivy ($720,000, 13 GP/0 GS). I'm projecting that only Ivy will qualify. Newman would be the least likely to qualify because of his minimal playing time (fewer than 50 plays all season, and only on special teams). Two years ago, Cornell Green, who signed for $710,000 per season in 2004 and played only one play, did not qualify for the equation. So even with small increases in the minimum needed to qualify, Newman would seem to be in a similar situation, given that his salary was exactly the same and his playing time was only slightly more. The eight players who seem to have signed for enough money to qualify all got between $750,000 and $765,000 per season. They are Kevin McCadam ($765,000, 16 GP/0 GS), Grey Ruegamer ($755,000, 16/1), Raonall Smith ($755,000, 16/0), Anthony Clement ($750,000, 16/16), Ephraim Salaam ($750,000, 15/14), Shaun Williams ($750,000, 12/12), Kenny Wright ($750,000, 16/9) and Jamar Fletcher ($750,000, 13/2).

Last year, regardless of playing time or postseason honors, the only third-round comp player got $5.51 million per season, fourth-round comp players got $4.167 million to $5.004 million, fifth-round comp players got $3.491 million to $4.375 million, sixth-round comp players got $1.706 million to $3.04 million, and seventh-round players got $1 million or less. Note that the upper range for seventh-rounders is misleading because none of last year's comp picks were for players who signed for between $1 million and $1.7 million per season. In 2005, three of the seventh-round comp picks were for players who signed for between $1.5 million and $1.75 million per season.

Another thing that made this year's projections difficult was that there were three unusual cases for qualifying players. For the first time, a qualifying player who could affect the comp picks was traded. Michael Bennett ($1.5 million, 11/0) was signed by New Orleans and traded to Kansas City for a fourth-round pick. New Orleans wouldn't receive any comp picks regardless of whether Bennett counts as a player signed for them. But Kansas City would not get a comp pick if Bennett counts as a player signed for them. Because there was no previous such case to set a precedent, I had to take an educated guess for whether Bennett would count against Kansas City. I'm projecting that Bennett will not count against the Chiefs, based on the simple fact that they already gave up one draft pick for him, and if he counts as a signing, he would cost them another pick. But I could be wrong. Also this year, a player signed for less than a qualifying salary but renegotiated for a higher salary during the season and could now qualify. Nate Webster originally signed a one-year contract for $585,000 with Denver, but during the regular season, he renegotiated that to a three-year deal. I used his partial $585,000 salary and the remaining value of his three-year deal to determine that his final contract value is $928,000 per season, which would mean he qualifies. But again, I could be wrong. The third unusual case is Mike Vanderjagt, who signed for $1.833 million per season but was released Nov. 27 after 12 weeks (and 11 games, although he missed one with an injury). There has never been a player who was cut after Week 10 and did not qualify for the equation when he otherwise would have, based on his salary. But as I said earlier, the NFL might have a minimum amount of playing time required in order for players who were released to qualify for the comp equation, and none of the previous players cut after Week 10 were kickers or punters. Because every previous player with a qualifying salary who was cut after Week 10 has counted in the equation, I'm projecting that Vanderjagt will count, too. But again, I could be wrong.

As I alluded to earlier, the NFL adds non-compensatory picks if fewer than 32 comp picks are awarded. The non-compensatory picks are given, in order, to the teams that would be drafting if there were an eighth round. If there are 28 true comps, for example, the NFL would give additional picks to the teams that would have the first four picks in the eighth round, if there were one. This year, I'm projecting that all 32 slots for comp picks will be true comps. In fact, if I'm correct about all of the bubble and above-bubble players, one team (Green Bay) would be eligible for the 33rd comp pick, if that many were awarded. But because the limit is 32, Green Bay will not get that comp. There also are no teams eligible for a net-value comp pick this year, by my calculations.



Here are the projected picks for 2007, along with the compensatory player, their average contract value, their games played, their games started and other notes --

THIRD ROUND
San Diego (Drew Brees, $10.0 million, 16 Games Played/16 Games Started, Pro Bowl)
San Francisco (Julian Peterson , $7.714 million, 16/16, Pro Bowl)
Indianapolis (Edgerrin James, $7.5 million, 16/16)

FOURTH ROUND
Oakland (Charles Woodson, $5.576 million, 16/16)
Pittsburgh (Chris Hope, $5.098 million, 16/16)
Atlanta (Kevin Shaffer, $5.143 million, 16/16)
Baltimore (Anthony Weaver, $5.3 million, 15/15)

FIFTH ROUND
Indianapolis (David Thornton, $4.45 million, 16/13)
Baltimore (Ma'ake Kemoeatu, $4.6 million, 16/14)
Pittsburgh (Antwaan Randle El, $4.464 million, 16/16)
New England (David Givens, $4.8 million, 5/5, placed on IR)

SIXTH ROUND
Indianapolis (Larry Tripplett, $3.607 million, 16/16)
Baltimore (Chester Taylor, $3.5 million, 15/15)
Cincinnati (Jon Kitna, $2.875 million, 16/16)
Baltimore (Will Demps, $2.28 million, 16/16)
New England (Tom Ashworth, $2.6 million, 16/6)
Seattle (Marquand Manuel, $2.0 million, 16/16)
New England (Adam Vinatieri, $2.4 million, 13 GP)

SEVENTH ROUND
Tampa Bay (Dexter Jackson, $1.85 million, 12/11)
San Diego (Justin Peelle, $1.5 million, 15/10)
Green Bay (Craig Nall, $1.423 million, 0/0)
Atlanta (Barry Stokes, $1.092 million, 11/11)
St. Louis (Rex Tucker, $1.217 million, 6/5, placed on IR)
San Diego (Reche Caldwell, $1.006 million, 16/14)
Tampa Bay (Jameel Cook, $1.020 million, 12/6)
Kansas City (Tony Richardson, $1.078 million, 9/7)
New England (Tim Dwight, $1.063 million, 9/2, placed on IR)
San Francisco (Anthony Clement, $750,000, 16/16)
St. Louis (Jamie Martin, $1.005 million, 16/0)
Jacksonville (Kenny Wright, $750,000, 16/9)
Minnesota (Raonall Smith, $755,000, 16/0)
Atlanta (Kevin McCadam, $765,000, 16/0)



Eight of the comp picks I've projected appear to be on the borderline between two rounds, or at least close to the borderline. In each case, because I think the value ranges will increase by more than the usual percentage, I've projected that the comp pick will fall below the borderline and be in the lower round. But it wouldn't surprise me if the comp pick for Woodson was in the third round; if the comp picks for Thornton, Kemoeatu, Randle El or Givens were in the fourth round; if the comp picks for Tripplett or Taylor were in the fifth round; or if the comp pick for Jackson was in the sixth round. And it's always possible that the NFL could have changed the ranges even more drastically, throwing even more of my projections off by a round or even two.


Here are the qualifying players lost and signed (in order of value) for the 16 teams that I'm projecting will receive true comp picks --

ATLANTA
Lost -- Kevin Shaffer, Barry Stokes, Kevin McCadam.
Signed -- None.

BALTIMORE
Lost -- Anthony Weaver, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Chester Taylor, Will Demps, Dave Zastudil, Anthony Wright.
Signed -- Justin Bannan, Corey Ivy.

CINCINNATI
Lost -- Jon Kitna, Matt Schobel, Nate Webster.
Signed -- Dexter Jackson, Anthony Wright.

GREEN BAY
Lost -- Mike Flanagan, Ryan Longwell, Paris Lenon, Craig Nall, Grey Ruegamer.
Signed -- Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Marquand Manuel.

INDIANAPOLIS
Lost -- Edgerrin James, David Thornton, Larry Tripplett, Mike Vanderjagt.
Signed -- Adam Vinatieri.

JACKSONVILLE
Lost -- Akin Ayodele, Jamie Winborn, Ephraim Salaam, Kenny Wright.
Signed -- Brian Williams, Nick Greisen, Stockar McDougle.

KANSAS CITY
Lost -- Todd Collins, Tony Richardson.
Signed -- Ron Edwards.

MINNESOTA
Lost -- Brian Williams, Corey Chavous, Melvin Fowler, Lance Johnstone, Michael Bennett, Raonall Smith.
Signed -- Steve Hutchinson, Ben Leber, Chester Taylor, Ryan Longwell, Tony Richardson.

NEW ENGLAND
Lost -- David Givens, Tom Ashworth, Adam Vinatieri, Andre Davis, Tim Dwight, Christian Fauria, Matt Chatham.
Signed -- Reche Caldwell, Mel Mitchell.

OAKLAND
Lost -- Charles Woodson, Renaldo Hill.
Signed -- Lance Johnstone.

PITTSBURGH
Lost -- Chris Hope, Antwaan Randle El, Kimo Van Oelhoffen.
Signed -- Ryan Clark.

SAN DIEGO
Lost -- Drew Brees, Ben Leber, Justin Peelle, Reche Caldwell, Jamar Fletcher.
Signed -- Marlon McCree, Aaron Shea.

SAN FRANCISCO
Lost -- Julian Peterson, Andre Carter, Anthony Clement.
Signed -- Antonio Bryant.

SEATTLE
Lost -- Steve Hutchinson, Joe Jurevicius, Marquand Manuel, Ryan Hannam.
Signed -- Julian Peterson, Tom Ashworth, Russell Davis.

ST. LOUIS
Lost -- Adam Archuleta, Ryan Pickett, Damione Lewis, Rex Tucker, Jamie Martin, Tyoka Jackson.
Signed -- Will Witherspoon, Corey Chavous, Fakhir Brown, Todd Steussie, Raonall Smith.

TAMPA BAY
Lost -- Dexter Jackson, Jameel Cook, Todd Steussie.
Signed -- Jamie Winborn.



If I'm wrong about any of the three bubble players, the eight above-bubble players or the three unusual cases, that could affect the comp picks. Here's what would happen in each instance --

If Corey Ivy does not qualify and Raonall Smith does qualify, St. Louis would not get a comp pick for Jamie Martin, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer ($755,000, 16/1), as long as he qualifies.

If Raonall Smith does not qualify and Corey Ivy does, Minnesota would not get a comp pick for Smith, and St. Louis would get a seventh-round comp pick for Ivy.

If neither Raonall Smith nor Corey Ivy qualify, Minnesota would not get a comp pick for Smith, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Grey Ruegamer does not qualify, the New York Giants would get a seventh-round comp pick for Shaun Williams ($750,000, 12/12), as long as he qualifies; Atlanta would not get a comp pick for Kevin McCadam; and Green Bay would not get a comp pick for Ruegamer in any scenario under which it might otherwise get the final true comp pick for him.

If neither Grey Ruegamer nor Shaun Williams qualifies, there is no change in the original projection, although in any scenario under which Green Bay otherwise would have received a comp pick for Ruegamer or any scenario under which there are fewer than 32 true comp picks awarded, a non-compensatory pick (or picks, if necessary) would be awarded to reach the full 32 picks added.

If Kevin McCadam does not qualify, Atlanta would not get a comp pick for him, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If neither Kevin McCadam nor Shaun Williams qualifies, Atlanta would not get a comp pick for McCadam, and Carolina would get a fourth-round comp pick for Will Witherspoon ($5.507 million, 16/16) -- or possibly a seventh-round comp pick for Dante Wesley ($815,000, 12/0) instead.

If Chad Williams does qualify, San Francisco would not get a comp pick for Anthony Clement, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Anthony Clement does not qualify, San Francisco would not get a comp pick for him, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Chad Williams does qualify and Anthony Clement does not qualify -- a seeming impossibility, given that Clement signed for $50,000 more per season than Clement did and had almost twice as much playing time -- San Francisco would get neither a comp pick for Julian Peterson nor a comp pick for Clement, but the 49ers would get a net-value comp pick after the last true comp pick in the seventh round, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If either Ephraim Salaam or Kenny Wright does not qualify -- or if neither of them qualify -- Jacksonville would not get a comp pick for Kenny Wright, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Jamar Fletcher does not qualify, San Diego would not get a comp pick for Reche Caldwell, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Nate Webster does not qualify, Cincinnati would not get a comp pick for Jon Kitna, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Mike Vanderjagt does not qualify, Indianapolis would not get a comp pick for Larry Tripplett, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Michael Bennett does not count as a player lost for Minnesota, the Vikings would not get a comp pick for Raonall Smith, even if he qualifies, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Michael Bennett does count as a player signed by Kansas City, the Chiefs would not get a comp pick for Tony Richardson, and Green Bay would get the final true seventh-round comp pick for Grey Ruegamer, as long as he qualifies.

If Keith Newman somehow qualifies, there are many possible results, depending on which other players qualify or do not qualify. Two possibilities are Minnesota getting a seventh-round comp pick for Newman, or Minnesota getting a seventh-rounder for Newman but not for Raonall Smith, even if he qualifies. But because I think the possibility of Newman qualifying is such a long shot and there are so many different potential scenarios and results, I haven't taken the time to project all of the possibilities.

If fewer than 32 true comp picks and net-value comp picks (if any) are awarded -- such as if Grey Ruegamer and/or multiple other bubble players do not qualify -- the empty slots would be filled by as many non-compensatory picks as needed to reach 32 total picks awarded. The order for the first 12 non-compensatory picks that would be awarded is Oakland, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Washington, Arizona, Houston, Miami, Minnesota, San Francisco, Buffalo, Atlanta.

This year's compensatory picks should be awarded during the NFL's Annual Meeting, which runs March 25-28 (most likely on March 26). After they're announced, I'll review what the NFL did and where my projections were incorrect (although I've already presented some other possibilities).
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Big7BenMVP


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do this every year, and I love it.

I hope the Steelers can somehow get a third round pick out of Chris Hope.
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Go Thumbtacks


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done for doing this, it must take up quite a bit of time. Good effort.
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MaddHatter


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... Applause Bravo Sir, I must say I'm very impressed...Any thoughts on Dallas being compensated for Scott Fujita or Scott Shanle?
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LSUSAINT


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaddHatter wrote:
Wow... Applause Bravo Sir, I must say I'm very impressed...Any thoughts on Dallas being compensated for Scott Fujita or Scott Shanle?


Why would the Cowboys receive compensation for Shanle? The Cowboys traded Shanle to the Saints. He wasn't a free agent.
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NYFCat


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome! Great job as usual.
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MaddHatter


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LSUSAINT wrote:
MaddHatter wrote:
Wow... Applause Bravo Sir, I must say I'm very impressed...Any thoughts on Dallas being compensated for Scott Fujita or Scott Shanle?


Why would the Cowboys receive compensation for Shanle? The Cowboys traded Shanle to the Saints. He wasn't a free agent.


Ah - I wasn't sure if Compensatory picks only came from Lost Free Agents, or all lost players in general. Thanks for the clarification (and damn Jerry for not getting some extra picks out of that trade)
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AdamJT13


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaddHatter wrote:
Wow... =D> Bravo Sir, I must say I'm very impressed...Any thoughts on Dallas being compensated for Scott Fujita or Scott Shanle?


Dallas signed either three or four qualifying players (depending on Mike Vanderjagt qualifying) and lost only two, so the Cowboys won't get any comp picks this year.
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ConvenientTruth


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job, very in depth and well thought out analysis.

Just as a 49ers fan, I'd project it a little differently. We're expecting we get a 4th for Andre Carter and nothing for Clement.

Great job overall
P.S. Poor Patriots getting only a 6th for the best Kicker in the NFL...oh well Laughing

EDIT: Also, why wouldn't we get a comp pick for Peterson if Clement doesn't qualify? You think Peterson would counteract Bryant instead of Carter?
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stevec0008


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, awsome post, to bad philly gets nothing, but were gonna be jacked come next year, we'll have around 5 extra picks..
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AntonioGates


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful work, I look forward to seeing how accurate you were.

I have a question though. It's not going to have an effect on next years picks, but say the Chargers lost a high profile free agent. Would the resigning of Dielman count as against our chances of getting a high pick because Dielman was a UFA?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive post. Really a great read, I hope your wrong aboutt Carter thou. I was hoping for a 4th also.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, the moment I have been waiting for. Thank you, Adam. Much appreciated.

For those who are curious, here's how his project breaks out for extra picks:

Baltimore: 4 picks (a 4th, a 5th, two 6ths)
New England: 4 picks (a 5th, two 6ths, a 7th)
San Diego: 3 picks (a 3rd, two 7ths)
Indianapolis: 3 picks (a 3rd, a 5th, a 6th)
Atlanta: 3 picks (a 4th, two 7ths)
San Francisco: 2 picks (a 3rd, a 7th)
Pittsburgh: 2 picks (a 4th, a 5th)
Tampa Bay: 2 picks (two 7ths)
St. Louis: 2 picks (two 7ths)
Oakland: 1 picks (a 4th)
Cincinnati: 1 picks (a 6th)
Seattle: 1 picks (a 6th)
Green Bay: 1 picks (a 7th)
Kansas City: 1 picks (a 7th)
Jacksonville: 1 picks (a 7th)
Minnesota: 1 picks (a 7th)


AntonioGates wrote:
I have a question though. It's not going to have an effect on next years picks, but say the Chargers lost a high profile free agent. Would the resigning of Dielman count as against our chances of getting a high pick because Dielman was a UFA?
No. Re-signing your own UFAs doesn't impact this. It's based on net losses and net gains.
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THE DUKE


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You forgot that the Bengals signed Sam Adams, so they will likely get 0 comp picks. Nice work though.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ConvenientTruth wrote:
Also, why wouldn't we get a comp pick for Peterson if Clement doesn't qualify? You think Peterson would counteract Bryant instead of Carter?

Re-read the third paragraph in the opening post.
AdamJT13 wrote:
A simple method of determining for which qualifying free agents a team will be compensated is this -- for every player signed, cancel out a lost player of similar value. For example, if a team signs one qualifying player for $2 million per season and loses two qualifying players, one who got $1.8 million per season and one who got $4 million per season, the team will be compensated for the $4 million player.

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