Sometimes, an idea comes around that changes everything and the easy response is, “Why the heck weren’t we doing this the entire time?” This is one of those times.
ESPN was reporting as of Nov. 20 that come the NFL Owner’s Meeting in Dallas in early December, the league will alter a key rule when it comes to compensatory picks. [UPDATE] The NFL and NFLPA did agree on the change, but it will NOT take effect untl the 2017 offseason. So no trades with this year's haul.[/UPDATE] No longer will teams be “forced” to select a player with these selections. Teams will now have full control over those picks that are awarded and be able to trade them, just like the draft picks they are assigned based on where they finished the previous season.
Compensatory picks are awarded based on a convoluted formula of gaining and losing players in free agency. Each player, based on salary, playing time and post-season awards, is assigned a “level of compensation”, equal to an additional pick at the end of one of rounds 3-7. There are 32 compensatory picks awarded every year, virtually creating an eighth round of each draft.
Here’s CowboysHQ’s projections of where those medians lie for the 2016 draft, based on a $153,000,000 2016 cap and the percentages calculated by OverTheCap.com’s Nick Kourte:
|2016 Projected on $153m cap|
[UPDATE] OTC has gleaned from the NFL's press release on trading picks, that the cutoffs for round determination might be based on salary rankings, but it doesn't affect the projection for Dallas. [/UPDATE]
On top of salary concerns, not every free agent signed or lost qualifies for compensatory consideration. There are ways to sign players that won’t add to the “players signed” ledger. Players who are cut from other teams, players who were RFAs or ERFAs who weren’t tendered, players signed after May 12th. This eliminates losing Sterling Moore, and signing Corey White from the calculations.
Also, the player must stay with his new team through Week 10 of the next season to qualify. That means that losing Anthony Spencer no longer qualifies, but neither does signing Jasper Brinkley or Jed Collins, who together count over $1.4 million towards Dallas’ 2015 salary cap as dead money.
Of the players remaining, here’s the chart of Dallas’ Comp Pick haul:
|Player Lost||Contract||APY||Round||Player Signed||Contract||APY||Round|
|Demarco Murray||5 yr/ $42 million||$8.4m||4th||x||Greg Hardy||1 yr/ $9.8m||$9.82||3rd|
|Jermey Parnell||5 yr/ $32 million||$6.4m||4th||AWARD|
|Bruce Carter||4 yr/ $17 million||$4.25m||6th||AWARD|
|Henry Melton||1 yr/$3.75 million||$3.75m||6th||AWARD|
|Justin Durant||3 yr/ $10.8 million||$3.6m||6th||AWARD|
|Dwayne Harris||5 yr/ $17.5 million||$3.5m||6th||x||Andrew Gachkar||2 yrs/$5.2m||$2.6m||6th|
|George Selvie||1 yr/ $1.4 million||$1.4m||7th||x||Darren McFadden||2 yr/$3m||$1.5m||7th|
That gives Dallas an additional four selections in the upcoming draft. However, Dallas has already used several of their “natural” picks as trade collateral.
In acquiring the right to select TE Geoff Swaim with pick number 246 of the 2015 draft, Dallas traded away their 2016 sixth-round selection. Right before the season, Dallas traded away their seventh-round pick for RB Christine Michael to Seattle, on condition he be active for three games. That third game will be against New York. Pretty sure he’s going to stick.
Then, when Dez Bryant went down in Week One, the Cowboys traded for WR Brice Butler with Oakland. If Butler remains on the 53 man roster through the Seattle game, Dallas will ship their 2016 5th rounder to Oakland and get back Oakland’s 6th rounder. Dallas has shipped away their 5th, 6th and 7th rounders (and a 2017 5th rounder for Matt Cassel).
So all in all, here’s the current, final tally for Cowboys draft picks in 2016, NOT trade-able this year ... but still useful now for the NFC East's last-place team.
|Round||Original Team||Current Team|