Losing a top-flight free agent is devastating for the franchise burned by the departure of a star, but the spoils of that disappointment are often felt a year later in the form of a compensatory draft selection.
Each year the NFL awards 32 compensatory selections, which this year were divvied up among 16 teams. The compensatory process for the 2013 draft works to supplement the 222 standard selections in this year's field and are meant to help a team move on from the loss of a veteran player in free agency.
Under the rules of the compensatory system, teams are only eligible to receive picks if their departures outweigh their arrivals. The number of picks a team receives is dependent on how many "compensatory" free agents they lose in a particular offseason. Players are deemed "compensatory" free agents by the NFL Management Council, which considers contracts, playing time and other factors before making its decision.
As such, there is a one-year delay on compensatory picks. Those teams awarded picks in the 2013 draft have been given those selections on the basis of their 2012 offseason. For instance, the Houston Texans received the top overall compensatory selection at No. 95 thanks to the Buffalo Bills' signing of Mario Williams.
A team can have no more than four compensatory picks in any season, and the 32 picks are divvied up from Rounds 3-7. The Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons lead the way in this year's crop of picks with the maximum of four each, giving them critical ammunition to bolster their playoff rosters.
Though compensatory picks cannot be traded, they have historically given teams an increased ability to move around with their other selections. The San Francisco 49ers, bolstered in part by their compensatory picks, were one of many teams able to move up in this year's draft already.
With the first compensatory picks about to be made in Round 3, here is a complete list of every selection for the 2013 NFL draft.
(All compensatory pick information is via NFL.com)
|3||Kansas City Chiefs||96|
|4||San Francisco 49ers||131|
|5||Green Bay Packers||167|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||204|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||246|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||252|
|7||New York Giants||253|