NFL Compensatory Picks 2014: Rules, Formula Explanation and Selections

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NFL Compensatory Picks 2014: Rules, Formula Explanation and Selections
Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press

The NFL offseason is once again heating up as organizations prepare for the announcement of which teams will be awarded compensatory picks in the 2014 NFL draft and where those selections will take place.

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The basic philosophy of compensatory picks is that franchises that lost more free agents than they signed in the previous year will be awarded draft selections to make up for the losses, according to previously released documents from   

Picks are awarded in the third through seventh rounds, and there are 32 total selections that can be awarded to teams that fit the criteria.    

According to Jimmy Kempski of, the official formula for determining which round and number the picks will take place is not public.

With the picks typically awarded during the owner’s meetings (Sunday through Wednesday), here are the rules and formula explanation based on how the previous years have played out and the latest projections from experts across the league.

Rules and Formula Explanation

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While the NFL has kept the formula determining the exact pick each team will get a secret, the basic rules for the compensatory selections is common knowledge thanks to publicly released documents from the league.

Compensatory draft pick determinations are based on the salary, playing time and postseason honors of the free agents each team lost during the previous offseason. For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers should receive one of the top compensatory picks after losing wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins via free agency.

All of the compensatory pick talk can be very confusing, but the selections will likely be awarded Monday, per Tania Ganguli of ESPN:

Each team is allowed a maximum of four compensatory picks, and selections will only be awarded to organizations that signed fewer players than they lost to free agency. That does not include players cut, players released after signing the year before or players making the league minimum.

The exact formula for where each selection will take place may not be known, but the size of the contract each free agent signed has been a major determining factor in previous years. 

Latest Projections

There are plenty projections surrounding which teams will get compensatory picks and where the selections will fall, but Craig Turner (via Kempski), who has established a reputation for accurately predicting these picks, has projected which team and where each selection will take place in the 2014 draft.

Projected Compensatory Draft Picks (via
Round Team Notable Player Lost
3 Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace
3 Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings
3 Baltimore Ravens Paul Kruger
3 San Francisco 49ers Dashon Goldson
4 Detroit Lions Gosder Cherilus
4 Baltimore Ravens Dannell Ellerbe
4 Houston Texans Connor Barwin
5 New York Jets LaRon Landry
5 Baltimore Ravens Cary Williams
5 Atlanta Falcons Brent Grimes
5 Pittsburgh Steelers Keenan Lewis
5 New York Giants Martellus Bennett
5 Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed
5 Houston Texans Glover Quin
6 New York Jets Mike DeVito
6 Green Bay Packers Erik Walden
6 New York Jets Dustin Keller
6 New England Patriots Patrick Chung
6 Cincinnati Bengals Manny Lawson
6 St. Louis Rams Brandon Gibson
6 New York Jets Shonn Greene
7 St. Louis Rams Bradley Fletcher
7 Dallas Cowboys Mike Jenkins
7 Cincinnati Bengals Pat Sims
7 St. Louis Rams Craig Dahl
7 St. Louis Rams Rob Turner
7 Dallas Cowboys Victor Butler
7 Cincinnati Bengals Bruce Gradkowski
7 Atlanta Falcons Will Svitek
7 Atlanta Falcons Christopher Owens
7 San Diego CHargers Shaun Phillips
7 Dallas Cowboys Kenyon Coleman

Jimmy Kempski,

The projections help fans understand exactly why teams are awarded the picks. The bigger the contract and the more a player impacts his new team, the better his old team will be rewarded with compensatory selections.

The New York Giants made several moves last offseason, but Jordan Raanan of is still expecting the team to be awarded a pick for the team’s losses:

So, with the Giants losing Umenyiora and Bennett and their only significant addition being Myers, the Giants should be rewarded. My prediction is they net a fourth-round pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft.

According to Vaughn McClure of, the Atlanta Falcons are expecting several picks to make up for free-agent losses:

During this year's NFL combine, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he anticipated receiving two to three compensatory draft picks this year. The Falcons currently have a pick in every round and own the sixth overall pick in the draft.

While the Falcons are expecting several selections, the Philadelphia Eagles are not likely going to get any, per Paul Domowitch of

This is an exciting time for teams that were dejected by losses in free agency, but ESPN’s Andrew Brandt points out the truth about the release of the picks:

NFL fans won’t be forced to wait very long for the outcome to all of the pertinent questions regarding compensatory picks, and Monday’s announcement will add even more intrigue to May’s draft.

This year's draft offers plenty of talent at various positions. As a result, any extra ammunition NFL teams can acquire is beneficial, especially with mid-round picks. For those teams expecting a few extra selections, this process could prove to be a significant factor in their draft plans.

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