The good news about receiving an extra compensatory pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is that it can be traded. That was never the case before in NFL history.
As reported by Ryan Mink of the Ravens media staff, the Ravens were awarded an extra 3rd-Round pick after losing guard Kelechi Osemele in free agency to the Oakland Raiders last year. Osemele signed a five-year deal worth a reported $58.5 million with $25.4 million guaranteed, then went to his first Pro Bowl.
Only two other teams got better compensatory picks: the Miami Dolphins for losing defensive end Olivier Vernon to the New York Giants, and the Carolina Panthers for losing Josh Norman to the Washington Redskins.
According to the NFL Management Council, a team losing more or better free agents than it acquired in the previous year is eligible to receive picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of free agents. The Ravens also saw quarterback Matt Schaub and linebacker Courtney Upshaw go to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency last offseason, but the signings of unrestricted free agents Eric Weddle and Benjamin Watson offset those losses.
So three (Osemele, Schaub, Upshaw) minus two = one compensatory pick…
To determine “better” free agents, the council looks at average salaries, playing time and postseason awards. Salaries make up the biggest portion of that equation.
Baltimore and General Manager Ozzie Newsome have mastered the formula, and have been awarded the most compensatory picks (48) in the NFL since the program was launched in 1994. Baltimore got three picks last year (the max is four).
Now this extra pick will be tacked on to the END of the 3rd round, so I don’t think it’s totally realistic to expect Ozzie to find an instant-impact blue-chip rookie player with it. I think it is more likely that Ozzie will bundle the extra pick with a deal to trade up to get someone who is a lot higher on the board, or to trade pack and parlay the extra pick for even more picks in rounds 4 and 5.
Either way, the 3rd Round comp pick adds a lot of value to the Ravens’ overall strategic resources in 2017.
“[C]ompensatory picks have turned out to reward smart teams,” wrote ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith. “The teams that have been wise about not over-spending in free agency and keeping themselves in good salary cap shape are the ones that keep getting lots of compensatory picks, while the teams that overspend in free agency are the ones that don’t receive compensatory picks.”
The MMQB’s Peter King looked at the teams with the most comp picks over the years, and correlated them to Super Bowl wins.
1. Baltimore: 48 comp picks; 2 Super Bowls
2. Green Bay: 38 comp picks; 2 Super Bowls
3. Dallas: 37 comp picks; 1 Super Bowl
4. New England: 34 comp picks; 5 Super Bowls
5. St. Louis/L.A. Rams: 33 comp picks; 1 Super Bowl
“Maybe [their] success … is a coincidence,” King wrote. “But I doubt it.”