Over The Cap recently updated their projections for the awarding of 2018 compensatory draft picks. Compensatory picks are generally awarded to teams that lose more free agents to other teams than they sign away from other teams.
Because the Falcons lost five of their unrestricted free agents (Patrick DiMarco, Paul Worrilow, Aldrick Robinson, Tom Compton, and Eric Weems) but only signed three unrestricted free agents from other teams (Dontari Poe, Jack Crawford, and Andre Roberts), it appeared as if they were potentially going to be in line for two late 2018 compensatory draft picks.
But I have some bad news, everyone:
[A]s it stands now, there are 41 eligible compensatory picks, one shy of the all time record of 42 set in 2016. Of course, only 32 picks may actually be awarded, so several teams will see their comp pick haul reduced (and in the case of Tampa Bay and Atlanta, possibly eliminated).
Ugh. So what that means is, according to Over the Cap’s projections, the Falcons should be awarded two seventh round compensatory draft selections in the 2018 draft. Their net loss of two unrestricted free agents who received non-minimum salary deals would be expected to result in receiving two compensatory picks. For the Falcons, that would constitute a “reward” for losing Tom Compton and Eric Weems, with the remaining signings “cancelling” each other out.
However, NFL rules allow for only 32 compensatory selections to be awarded in a given draft. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Tom Compton and Eric Weems contracts given by the Bears and Titans, respectively, do not land among the top 32 free agent departure contract values. Average per year contract values generally determine the slotting of compensatory picks and Compton and Weems turn out to be just outside the top 32 contract values: they are projected by Over the Cap to be numbers 35 and 39, respectively.
So the Falcons are awarded no picks, and may the football gods have mercy on their soul.
It is worth noting, however, that Over the Cap’s current projection is not set in stone. Player cuts, retirements, and/or strong on-field performances could shuffle the projected order to some degree by season’s end. So it wouldn’t take all that much for the Falcons to wind up emerging with one or two compensatory picks.
But if this early projection is correct, then 2018 will be fourth consecutive Falcons draft in which the Falcons do not receive any compensatory draft picks.
Fortunately, the Falcons have drafted quite well over the last few years, even without the luxury of having extra compensatory pick selections. And, for perspective’s sake, the last time the Falcons had compensatory picks to use, they squandered them on the subphysical and slow-to-develop linebacker trio of Shembo, Smallwood, and Starr.
Nonetheless, I realize that this is a very sad moment for everyone who was already deep in the planning stages of their 2018 7-round mock drafts. I will pour one out for all of you who are tearfully erasing that gritty, playmaking, fast-and-physical Division II interior defensive lineman who you had penciled in for the Falcons at pick 249. I know there is little I can say to restore hope during somber moments such as this one, but if it’s any consolation, rookie minicamp will begin tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe, that will serve as a helpful, welcome temporary distraction from your current compensatory pick blues.