The Upside of Being Free Agency Losers

If you’re anything like I was ten minutes ago, then you believe compensatory draft picks have something to do with losing free agents and being a good boy or girl all year. Well, you’re half right.

And until this offseason, it hasn’t mattered much. Fun fact: Last draft we got a compensatory pick for being the second worst team in the NFL. Hooray—you say sarcastically? Hooray indeed, that pity pick became Daryl Richardson.

Part of the mysteriousness of compensatory picks comes from the NFL guarding it’s secret formula, but here are the bare bones:

There are 30 picks to be distributed between the 3rd and 7th round. Picks awarded are based on the new salary of the lost free agent, the playing time he receives, and postseason honors (whatever that means). Teams can be awarded up to four picks under these conditions. An additional two picks are added to the end of the draft and given to the teams picking #2 and #1 overall, in that order.

If you haven’t repressed your Ram related memories of the past decade, you’ll remember that for the most part, teams weren’t willing to steal our free agents. In most cases, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But when the one man is living in a cardboard fort under the bridge, his trash is usually just trash.

As I’m sure you’ve ascertained, this year is different. Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson are going to have important roles on their new teams, and are presumably playoff bound. Brandon Gibson being overpaid works in our favor even if the Dolphins tank. Even Bradley Fletcher has a chance to kick a little goodness our way.

Jared Cook counts against us, having a big time salary and a big time role. But I doubt what we gain with him will wipe out what we lost.

In 2014 we’re going to have over 10 picks. Two will be in the first round, and depending on how our ex-Rams play, we could receive an additional four picks somewhere in-between the 3rd and 7th round. As a bonus, Seattle and San Francisco, who have been very active in free agency, likely won’t get anything.

So. Root for Jackson and the Falcons, root for Gibson and the Dolphins, root for Fletcher and the Eagles, and if you can find it in your heart, root for Amendola and the Patriots. Free draft picks are at stake!

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