The Los Angeles Rams have done a good job under Sean McVay and Les Snead in receiving compensatory picks each year and that was again the case in 2023. The Rams got the max allowed of four (the 49ers got seven, but three of those are for the NFL’s minority hiring policy and do not count against the max) and that has awarded GM Les Snead with three extra picks in round five (167, 171, 177) and one in round seven (251).
Those picks may not land the Rams blue chip “prospects”, but they do sometimes lead to good players and sometimes even to more comp picks.
Take for example, 2019 seventh round pick Nick Scott.
The Bengals signed Scott to a three-year, $12 million contract on Friday, and that may end up leading to a seventh round comp pick. He’s not the first 2023 Rams free agent to sign for what could lead to a comp pick and he may not be the last. According to OvertheCap.com’s current formula, L.A. is on track to receive compensatory picks for Matt Gay (6th round) and Baker Mayfield (6th round).
What are these picks and how are they distributed? A brief explanation by OTC:
For each draft, the NFL awards at least 32 additional picks for certain players, coaches and executives who depart from their previous teams. Appendix V of the CBA and 2020 Resolution JC-2A govern the rules of the compensatory draft system. Visit OTC’s compensatory formula page and read this explainer to better understand how compensatory picks are assigned.
Here’s a simple breakdown by me:
Player’s contract expires with team (releases do not count). Player signs with a different NFL team. NFL takes every contract and sorts by Average Annual Salary. They look at the top-32 or so of those contracts and put them in order—HOWEVER, if the team that lost that player signs an outside free agent to a comparable-sized contract, it should cancel that comp pick out. The NFL takes the lost free agents who didn’t get canceled out and distributes comp picks at the end of rounds three, four, five, six, and seven.
That’s a simple breakdown, it is not complete and there could be key information missing but I think it’ll help get you from point A to point B.
Now, let’s talk about what the Rams have and most importantly, have NOT done in free agency yet:
Lose...Matt Gay, Baker Mayfield, and Nick Scott.
How about we answer some questions?
Will the Rams receive a comp pick when Bobby Wagner signs?
No. He was released.
Will the Rams receive a comp pick when Odell Beckham, Jr. signs?
That’s a really interesting question actually. I don’t know, but I assume that he would have had to sign in 2022.
If the Rams sign a player like guard Dalton Risner, will they lose a comp pick?
Will the Rams receive a comp pick when Leonard Floyd signs?
Will the Rams receive a comp pick when A’Shawn Robinson or Greg Gaines sign?
At this point, either of them would likely have to sign a contract at or north of $4 million per season. It’s not a great sign that both made it through the first week of free agency without any news, but Robinson is visiting the Giants on Monday. If a team only values them at the level of someone like Morgan Fox, who left the Rams for the Chargers in 2022 and recently re-signed for a deal that pays him $3.6 million per season, then the Rams may not receive a comp pick. Taven Bryan just signed for $3.5 million. Jerry Tillery signed for $3.4 million.
Would a team see Robinson or Gaines as valuable as Shy Tuttle, who signed with the Panthers for $6.5 million per season? The question would be, what’s taking so long for Gaines and Robinson to sign then?
But Sebastian Joseph-Day signed with the Chargers for $8 million per season.
The magic number might be $4 million per season and that may be harder to eclipse than we think.
Will the Rams receive a comp pick when Taylor Rapp signs?
It’s not a good sign that Scott got a deal before Rapp and his deal just barely hits the threshold. Rapp has also had meetings with the Bengals, will they add both?
What about David Edwards?
He’s another guy who’s just sort of floating out there. There was more interest in Austin Corbett in 2022 than there appears to be for Edwards in 2023. Corbett got $8.75 million per season with Carolina. Would the Rams just like to bring back Edwards instead?
How many comp picks will the Rams get in 2024?
The Rams have shown zero interest in adding free agents, so I don’t see them doing anything to cancel out their 2024 comp picks. Since they could already have three, I could see them finishing out free agency with four: Gay is a definite, Mayfield and Scott are probably, and then maybe A’Shawn Robinson signs for $5 million. It just doesn’t seem like Snead is doing anything in free agency and is willing to wait out for veterans who don’t generate enough interest in March as the team cuts salary and invests in the draft.
What this means for Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald is still the most interesting hanging question mark on the 2023 roster. We just don’t see any movement to improve around those guys.