The Chicago Bears have not had a compensatory draft pick in 10 years. That streak might now run to 11.
According to Over The Cap’s Nick Korte, the 2020 compensatory draft pick the Bears thought they might be receiving is almost certain to disappear. The Bears lost safety Adrian Amos to the rival Green Bay Packers and were expecting to receive a fourth-rounder in return. However, that was offset by the Arizona Cardinals releasing wide receiver Kevin White, who had been with the Bears.
The last year the Bears had compensatory picks was back in 2009, when they had three: Juaquin Iglesias (third round), Lance Louis and Derek Kinder (both seventh-rounders)
Compensatory draft picks are awarded each offseason for the prior year’s free-agency cycle. In order to gain picks, teams must lose a net number of free agents that exceeds the number they sign in an offseason. The system, created in 1994, is meant to offset teams losing big-name free agents or a slew of free agents to other teams.
Picks are then awarded based on a complicated formula determined by the free agents’ contracts, roster status with their new team and whether they are eventually released.
A total of 32 compensatory picks are awarded each year to various teams, with those selections tacked onto the ends of Rounds 3 through 7. There are no first- or second-round compensatory picks, no matter how big teams’ losses are. The full compensatory selection list is typically announced in February, prior to the start of free agency.
The Bears also will be without their first- and third-round selections (traded to the Oakland Raiders in the Khalil Mack deal), as well as their fourth-rounder (traded to the New England Patriots in the David Montgomery deal). However, the Bears get Oakland’s second-rounder back from the terms of the Mack deal and could get back fifth- or sixth-round selections based on their trades of Mack, as well as Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Which other teams stand to lose picks?
Four other teams now stand to lose fourth-round picks that they thought they might be receiving.
The Los Angeles Chargers figured to gain a fourth-round compensatory pick, per Korte, when the Raiders signed former Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams. However, when the Arizona Cardinals released former Chargers defensive lineman Darius Philon, the Williams pick was negated.
The Kansas City Chiefs similarly were stung when the Indianapolis Colts eventually released former Chiefs running back Spencer Ware. That took away a pick Kansas City could have received for the loss of cornerback Steven Nelson, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s still a remote chance the Chiefs get this pick back, however, and it is an indication of just how complicated the compensatory formula is. The Chiefs need Oakland Raiders offensive guard Jordan Devey to start for most of the season — Korte estimates 13 starts or more for Oakland — for them to get the pick back. Devey has started the first three games, two at left guard (for the suspended Richie Incognito) and the last one at right guard.
Other teams potentially losing out on would-be fourth-rounders include the Eagles and Los Angeles Rams. The San Francisco 49ers cutting Jordan Matthews offsets the Eagles’ loss of Golden Tate. And the Lions cutting C.J. Anderson (which Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde actually witnessed happen) negatively offsets the Rams losing Lamarcus Joyner to the Raiders.
And now for the good news
On the flip side, the Dallas Cowboys actually stand to gain a pick because of a recent transaction. When Dallas cut safety George Iloka, it tilted the compensatory formula back in their favor, likely giving them a fifth-round pick they were not expecting previously.
There are other picks whose status remains up in the air. Injuries to Jacksonville Jaguars QB Nick Foles (Eagles), New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (Baltimore Ravens), Denver Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James (Miami Dolphins) and others keep the formula pending until we know the status of their health.
As things stand now, Korte projects the Patriots to receive two third-round picks for the losses of offensive tackle Trent Brown to the Raiders and defensive end Trey Flowers to the Lions. The Houston Texans also figure to earn a pair of extra threes after losing free agents Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson.
Other teams that right now stand to earn additional third-round picks include the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Steelers, Rams, Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Compensatory picks used to not be able to be traded, but that rule was abolished in recent years, making them available for trade like any other draft choice.
The most famous compensatory pick in modern NFL history is probably Tom Brady, the 199th overall selection of the Patriots in the 2000 draft. Other recent comp picks that have turned out to be highly successful include the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott and the Steelers’ James Conner.
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