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Managing the compensation pick


capATL
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The last few years, I have started to examine comp picks. I thought it was great that we got one, and then looked at other teams and realized that some teams get multiple comp picks regularly [the Patriots in past years for example]. The more I looked at it, the more I started to realize that there are some real opportunities if the comp system is managed smartly.

Last year we lost Patrick Kerney, Ashley Lelie and Justin Griffith and signed Ovie Mughelli, Lewis Sanders and Marcus Wilkins. This should net us a seventh round comp pick because of Kerney's salary and performance. But, Wilkins may not actually be a qualifying player. If he is not, we should get a third round comp pick. If we miss out on the third round pick, it would be a disappointing indicator of a missed opportunity. If we didn't sign Wilkins we would have benefited more than signing him. Was there another way to get a similar player?

Overview: Without getting into a lot of details, the mysterious formula used by the league assesses the losses to free agency vs. free agency signings. Each person is graded on salary, playing time, and post season honors. If you lose more than you get, you may get one or more comp picks.

1. Plan your comp years. Simply said, a team should know when they are going to be losing valued players, and stay away from free agency signings that year [or sign only lower paid role players]. It would be possible to alternate years for signing free agents and losing free agents.

2. Plan length of contracts. Not all contracts are the same length, so by looking ahead a number of years a team can decide to offer a 4 year contract instead of a three year if it matches up with a "losing free agents" year. It would have been nice if Crumpler, Demorrio, and Coleman all had expiring contracts this year.

3. Renegotiate contracts to extend the contract expiration, for the same reason as above.

4. Trade for a player. Since last year's signing of Wilkins may cost us, we could have instead traded a pick in this draft for a similar player. Trading a sixth round pick to get a player, could have netted us a 3rd round pick rather than a seventh. Even if the player doesn't work out, we come out ahead.

5. Focus on cut players rather than free agents. Players who are cut do not count for comp picks. For those who argue that we don't want someone whose own team didn't want him, a player who isn't resigned is the same thing.

Keep in mind, I am not advocating tearing the team apart just to get comp picks. But, the NFL has laid this benefit on the table and it is insane to not take maximum advantage of it.

I'm still hoping to get that 3rd round comp pick. We should know sometime next week--the league meeting is from Tuesday until Friday.

PS. Tom Brady was a 6th round comp pick.

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That may be one of the most well thought out, clearly defined, and accurately described posts I've ever read here.  Kudos to your efforts.  Oh...and I agree that this should be a common practice among the best GM's.  It's the focus on ALL of the intricate details of running a team that separates greatness from mediocrity to obscurity.

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At last someone who really understands the compensatory pick system. Good post, and you brought out some very valid points. If Atlanta loses a third round pick due to the Marcus Wilkens signing, then the Falcons certainly didn't manage the compensatory system very well at all last year.

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mbrizzle (3/21/2008)
That's not how the compensatory picks work at all.

If a team signs an equal number of UFA that is lost, no pick will be given out. The value of the pick (in terms of what round it comes in) is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired.

 

There is more to it than that the actual formula is a secret.But number of players and contracts are considered.

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mbrizzle (3/21/2008)
That's not how the compensatory picks work at all.

If a team signs an equal number of UFA that is lost, no pick will be given out. The value of the pick (in terms of what round it comes in) is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired.

It is possible for a team to get a compensatory pick even if it doesn t suffer a net loss of qualifying free agents. That type 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 12 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 12 cases, those teams lost the same number of qualifying free agents as they signed. No team has been awarded a comp pick after signing more qualifying free agents than it lost, no matter how significant the difference in combined value. This year, I m projecting that Atlanta will receive a net-value comp after losing three qualifying players (Patrick Kerney, Ashley Lelie and Justin Griffith) and signing three qualifying players (Ovie Mughelli, Lewis Sanders and Marcus Wilkins). The combined values of the players Atlanta lost was more than twice as much as the combined values of the players it signed.

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mbrizzle (3/21/2008)
That's not how the compensatory picks work at all.

If a team signs an equal number of UFA that is lost, no pick will be given out. The value of the pick (in terms of what round it comes in)is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired.

My reasearch shows:

There have been 12 comp picks awarded where a team has lost and signed the same number of players and the combined value of the free agents lost was significantly higher than the combined value of the free agents signed. In all 12 cases, those teams lost the same number of qualifying free agents as they signed.

No team has been awarded a comp pick after signing more qualifying free agents than it lost, no matter how significant the difference in combined value.

Also, the value of the contracts while the major part of the formula is not the only factor. Playing time/starting and post season honors are also factored in.

rmarchma, you were posting as I was typing. Nice post.

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Good post capATL ,  and rmarchma ,  Lets have a little compitition here ,  Who ever wants to make a guess at what comp picks we will get needs to reply,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I want to see capATL and rmarchma's projection mostly thou . Com on guys give me your best shot and tell me what you think we get ? Thanks for all the info ...I'm waiting .

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rmarchma (3/21/2008)
At last someone who really understands the compensatory pick system. Good post, and you brought out some very valid points. If Atlanta loses a third round pick due to the Marcus Wilkens signing, then the Falcons certainly didn't manage the compensatory system very well at all last year.

Correct. The patriots have worked the system very well to this point. Let's hope TD will stick to this blueprint.

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Draftnut57 (3/22/2008)
Good post capATL ,  and rmarchma ,  Lets have a little compitition here ,  Who ever wants to make a guess at what comp picks we will get needs to reply,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I want to see capATL and rmarchma's projection mostly thou . Com on guys give me your best shot and tell me what you think we get ? Thanks for all the info ...I'm waiting .

Either 3rd round or 7th round depending upon Marcus Wilkens status as a "qualified free agent" signing by Atlanta. If Wilkins does not count as a qualified free agent signing, then Atlanta would be looking at a net loss of 1 player, ie 3 qualified free agents lost (Kerney, Griffith, and Lelie) and 2 qualified free agents signed (Mughelli and Lewis Sanders). This scenerio would net Atlanta 1 compensatory pick, which would probably be a third round pick due to losing significant value in Patrick Kerney.

However if Wilkins does count as a "qualified" free agent signing, then Atlanta's net loss would be 0, ie 3 qualified free agents lost versus 3 qualfied free agents signed. Therefore if the net loss is 0, then the most that a team can receive is only one compensatory selection at the end of the 7th round. A team with a net loss of 0 will get a 7th round selection only if the value of the qualified free agents lost is significantly higher than the value of the qualified free agents signed. Thus some teams with a net loss of 0 might not get a compensatory pick at all. Since the value of Atlanta's qualified free agents lost is significantly higher than the value signed, primarily due to Kerney, then Atlanta should get a 7th round compensatory pick if Wilkins does count.

Of course, I'm really hoping that Wilkens does not count as a qualified free agent, and thus Atlanta should get a 3rd round pick. The Falcons could really use two 3rd round picks to go with all those 2nd round picks. However, my best "guess" is that Wilkens will count as a qualified free agent signing though, and I therefore predict that Atlanta will only receive a 7th round compensatory pick this year.

Marcus Wilkens was signed by Atlanta during the 2007 free agency period. He played in all the Falcons games during the 2007 regular season on special teams. He was recently released in 2008, but this does not affect his status as a qualified free agent signing in 2007, which is the basis for the 2008 compensatory picks. If he had been signed in 2007 but released during the 2007 regular season, then he probably would not count as a qualified free agent signing for 2007.

My reasearch indicated that Wilkins signed with Atlanta for $3m for 3 years, or $1m per year. This would put him clearly over the minimum annual income threshold and thus would be counted as a "qualified" free agent signing by Atlanta. However the compensatory guru's research showed that Wilkin's annual salary was $816,667, which puts him much closer to the minimum income threshold level (somewhere around $750,000 for last year's compensatory draft selections). The minimum income level could possibly go up enough this year (it changes every year) to exclude Wilkins from counting as a "qualified" free agent signing for the compensatory formula, if in fact his annual salary was $816,667 and not $1,000,000.

If you need additional detail about compensatory picks and the Falcons specific situation, my following linked topic thread might help:

http://life.atlantafalcons.com/FORUMS/Forum46-4.aspx

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