One of the most common questions I get asked on TJB is whether the Jets will get any compensatory picks in the next NFL draft. Due to the way the formula works, it’s too early to calculate that for the 2014 draft at this time. However, we can set out the position as it stands and what would need to happen for the potentially qualifying players to count towards the calculation. I will be able to forecast this more accurately once the season is over, as I did in January in 2012 and 2013.
Since I’m doing this, I might as well also summarize the current 2014 draft picks situation for the Jets so that all the information is in one place and we can update this post if there are any additional trades or changes that will affect the picks due to them.
After the jump, I’ll set out the current position and where they stand in terms of potentially qualifying free agent gains and losses.
2014 draft picks traded away
This is simple enough, since the Jets have retained all of their 2014 picks so far. The Chris Ivory trade saw them surrender a pick in this year’s draft. So, the Jets have one pick in each round so far and, based on the up-and-down nature of the first half of the season, we can probably assume that these will fall somewhere near the middle of each round.
We now know that the Jets pick 18th in round one. All of the teams that finished 8-8 will pick from 14th to 19th with the initial order determined by the strength of schedule tiebreaker. The picks rotate each round, so the Jets will move up a slot to pick 17th in the second round, 16th in the third, 15th in the fourth and 14th in the 5th. They should then move to the back of that group to pick 19th in the 6th round and 18th again in the seventh.
2014 non-conditional picks acquired
None so far. Still none as of 12/31/2013.
2014 conditional picks acquired
There is still a pick outstanding from the Darrelle Revis trade. The Jets will definitely receive at least a fourth round pick no matter what happens. However, this rises to a third round pick as long as Revis is on the Bucs roster on the third day of the 2014 league year (in March).
Since there will be no dead money consequences for the Bucs to release Revis before that date, some Jets fans are concerned that the Bucs could get around this by releasing him before that date and then later re-signing him, which would be similar to what the New Orleans Saints did with Jonathan Vilma. The Jets could easily have included language in the trade agreement to prevent this – perhaps saying that the third round pick applies if he is on their roster on or after that date – and, in any case, the league might attack the ploy as a pre-ordained series of transactions that did not constitute a genuine release. It would also be pretty reckless of the Bucs to give the far-from-notorious-for-his-loyalty Revis a chance to negotiate with another team, regardless of what they might have made a handshake agreement upon. On the other hand, an alternative theory is that the Jets were well aware that the Bucs might be prepared to do this, but were perhaps willing to live with the possibility of only getting a fourth rounder and unable to agree on a trade without such conditions attached.
With the Bucs perhaps experiencing buyer’s remorse and no 2014 guaranteed money at stake, the possibility of them pulling the emergency cord on this six-year, $96m deal in March is a real one. Either way, it’s a fourth or third rounder coming to the Jets – and looks like it will be early in the round.
With the recent coach/GM firings in Tampa, perhaps this makes the likelihood of Revis being released higher. We can now say that this will be the fifth pick in round three or the fourth pick in round four.
Compensatory picks breakdown
Note: UFA Compensatory Picks are different from the compensatory picks awarded when a team signs a restricted free agent or a franchised player to an offer sheet that isn’t matched. In next year’s draft the Jets could theoretically obtain a pick in this way. However all of the guys this could apply to (including Ellis Lankster and Garrett McIntyre) are undrafted so they would only rank for draft pick compensation if they were given a second round tender. This seems unlikely (and even less likely that someone would give up that kind of compensation for them) unless someone unexpectedly emerges during the second half of the season. It is always unlikely that any team will receive compensatory picks for a franchised player, but that’s another theoretical possibility for any of their unrestricted free agents at the end of this year. Again, this would only be likely if someone like Austin Howard unexpectedly had an unbelievable second half of the season. Tagging and trading RFA’s or UFA’s is always a slight possibility. Trading veterans under contract for picks is also an option.
UFA Compensatory Picks are awarded to teams who lost a lot of free agents in the offseason. This is based on a secret formula that teams aren’t given, but the process has been going on long enough that we’ve got a pretty decent idea of how to project (assuming the NFL has not elected to change the formula, which is theoretically possible). Courtesy of the excellent AdamJT13, we now have enough information to make an informed estimate of the extra picks potentially due to the Jets.
Summarizing the Rules
First, here are some of the main rules:
- Teams can receive a maximum of four compensatory picks
- The maximum value of a compensatory pick is a third rounder
- Compensatory picks are added at the end of each round
- You cannot trade compensatory picks
- Only qualifying UFA losses count towards the calculation of how many picks are owed
- Qualifying UFA gains are offset against UFA losses and picks are only awarded to the extent that losses exceed gains
- To qualify, you must be an unrestricted free agent whose contract expired (or, in some cases, was voided) at the end of the previous season. RFA’s, even RFA’s that became UFA’s as a result of not being tendered do not qualify and neither do players who were cut, waived or released.
- Players signed after the end of the free agent signing period (usually the last week in June, but the lockout pushed this to the end of August in 2011) and players released before week 10 by their new teams do not qualify.
- The draft round value of the players appears to be mainly based on the annual value of their new contract, but playing time and postseason honors factor into things as well. For example, a player failing to have the required amount of playing time could become non-qualifying or a player with postseason honors might get bumped up to a higher round if they are on the bubble.
Calculating the Compensatory Picks
So, taking all these rules into account, where do the Jets stand? You may recall that Adam Schefter was projecting that the Jets would receive four compensatory picks (as they did in 2006 and 2012):
However, due to the above rules, that depends on how many of the potentially qualifying UFA gains and losses actually qualified. At the start of the free agent process, the Jets had six potentially qualifying losses and two potentially qualifying gains. If all of these qualified, the Jets would gain four compensatory picks, but if some did not, they’d only receive a number of picks that corresponded with the extent to which losses outstripped gains. So, if three losses and one gain qualified, they’d get two compensatory picks. If one loss and one gain were all that qualified, they might still get a seventh rounder, but that is the maximum you can receive when losses don’t exceed gains. Obviously if they had one qualifying loss and two qualifying gains, they’d receive no picks and if they had six qualifying losses and one qualifying gain, they’d receive four, not five, because four is the maximum.
So, how does a potentially qualifying player become a non-qualifying player? The main way would be by not reaching the playing time threshold, which in recent years has been around 20%. Anyone who suffered a season ending injury early in the year could find themselves in this category. However, it’s not impossible to get no playing time and still qualify. That happened to Drew Stanton last year, presumably because he was on the active roster when the Colts made the playoffs. Someone placed on injured reserve would presumably fail to benefit from such “postseason honors”.
Another way to not qualify would be if you were released by week 10 and not get picked up by anyone else off waivers. Since we’re heading into week 10, it’s an ideal time to evaluate the playing time status of each potentially qualifying UFA gain or loss to determine whether we think they will still qualify.
Ruling Out Non-Qualifying UFAs
So who were the eight potentially qualifying UFA’s that impact the Jets’ draft position? Let’s first of all rule out some of the players that didn’t qualify.
Willie Colon and Dawan Landry don’t qualify as potentially qualifying UFA gains because they were both released in March rather than being UFAs by virtue of their contracts expiring.
Leger Douzable doesn’t qualify because the Jets smartly waited until after the free agent signing period was over before they signed him.
Stephen Peterman and Antonio Garay obviously do not qualify because they didn’t make the team, but they wouldn’t have anyway because they were also released in March. All of the above moves suggest the Jets are well aware of these rules and it factored into their free agent planning.
Brandon Moore, Braylon Edwards, Chaz Schilens and Bryan Thomas could have qualified, had they been signed by another team before the end of the free agent signing period and remained with them. However, Tim Tebow, Sione Po’uha, Eric Smith, Jason Smith and Bart Scott would not have qualified because they were cut.
Anyone who re-signed with the Jets does not qualify (ie Nick Folk), but the likes of Calvin Pace (because he was cut) and Tanner Purdum or Josh Mauga (because they were non-tendered RFAs) would not have qualified even if they signed with and remain on another team.
Determining Qualifying Gains
So, who does that leave the Jets with? Let’s look at potentially qualifying gains first. Remember, each qualifying gain nets off against qualifying losses to reduce the total picks. The only two Jets acquisitions that meet the criteria of being unrestricted free agents whose contracts expired with their old teams and were signed in the relevant signing period are Mike Goodson and Antwan Barnes. Of course, both are on injured reserve already.
I’ll confess I’m not 100% certain of the rules for injured players. Remember, it’s a secret formula and we’ve been able to piece together an approximation of how the formula works to make a projection. Does landing on injured reserve before week 10 count the same as being released before week 10 and therefore render each player non-qualifying? I would imagine not, but these injuries happened so early in the season what they did do was damage the chances of either player attaining enough playing time to qualify.
Playing time percentage itself likely includes special teams and probably excludes plays blown dead before the snap from the equation, which sites like PFF do not do, so anything we come up with here is likely to be an approximation (and, in fact, the magical 20% threshold is only an approximate number itself). However, Antwan Barnes played just 152 snaps and you can usually expect a team to have about 1,000 snaps on defense in any given season. In fact, in the modern hurry-up era, maybe that will rise. Through nine games, the Jets defense is on course to play over 1,100 snaps. It seems likely, therefore, that Barnes’ playing time percentage will be less than 15% and certainly short of the 20% mark. Goodson played just 30 snaps, so he obviously won’t meet that target either. As noted above, there has been at least one instance of a player not meeting the playing time criteria but still qualifying, but that player was on the active roster as the team made the playoffs. I would assume being on the injured reserve list in the event the Jets made the postseason would not vault Barnes or Goodson back into qualifying status. So, the Jets would appear to have zero qualifying UFA gains.
Barnes’ playtime percentage ended up at 13.5% (not including special teams). History tells us this won’t qualify, so zero qualifying UFA gains still seems to be the outcome.
Determining Qualifying Losses
That’s just as well, because before the season even began – while Goodson and Barnes still looked like they might qualify – Dustin Keller ended up on injured reserve, reducing the number of projected picks for the Jets below the four they were expecting to receive according to Schefter. Keller obviously doesn’t qualify and early season injuries to LaRon Landry and Shonn Greene put their status in jeopardy too.
There was always a chance that Greene would not meet that 20% criteria. He doesn’t play special teams and he’s backing up Chris Johnson, who played over 80% of the snaps last year. So where was he going to get that many reps from with Darius Reynaud and Jackie Battle also on the roster? Greene has played just 21 snaps over the first half of the season, so barring an injury to Johnson – or a Titans playoff berth that vaults him into qualifying status even if he misses the playing time target – it looks like he will not qualify. There’s still a chance though.
Greene’s playing time did go up over the second half, but his playing time percentage (not including special teams) was still only 14.1% so it seems highly unlikely he will qualify, especially since the Titans missed the postseason.
As for the other four, they’ve all already played enough – even Landry, despite missing time – to meet the playing time criteria, even if they were to miss the rest of the season. Yeremiah Bell and Matt Slauson have played over 500 snaps, Mike DeVito has played over 300 and Landry has played 276 (which would be over 25% of 1,100). So, it does look like they will receive four picks. The one caveat to this is that Bell and Slauson’s salary might be too low. In past seasons there have been guys who earned slightly above the minimum but did not qualify. Bell is earning the minimum, whereas Slauson is earning $100K over the minimum (but actually $125K less than Bell because Bell is so much older). In recent years, many players receiving the minimum have qualified and the fact that minimum level contracts are becoming more prevalent in recent years would hopefully alleviate this concern. It likely helps that both Slauson and Bell have easily met the playing time criteria already.
Final snap counts (not including special teams): DeVito 39%, Landry 74%, Bell 99%, Slauson 100%. It therefore looks certain that all four will qualify as long as there aren’t too many other qualifying candidates with higher salaries, which is unlikely based on recent trends.
Overall, we can conclude that it looks likely the Jets will have four qualifying losses and no qualifying gains to offset. As noted, this is just a projection but that seems likely based on the evidence above.
Valuing the Qualifying Picks
All we need to do now is quantify the value of the qualifying picks.
The value is mainly determined by the annual value of the player’s contract. Having assumed the playing time incentive has been met, the only other component is postseason honors. This could theoretically bump a guy who was close to the next threshold in terms of his salary up a round, but seems to be rare in practice.
Of the four, LaRon Landry is the most valuable player. He’s earning $6m per year, which should mean he is worth a fourth rounder in terms of draft pick compensation. Remember, this will be at the end of the third round. The 3rd round threshold is believed to be somewhere around $6.5m to $7m, so maybe there’s a slim chance that “postseason honors” (whether that be a Pro Bowl invite or postseason success for the Colts) could bump that pick up to a third rounder, but it seems unlikely.
The next most valuable is Mike DeVito, who is earning $4.2m per year with the Chiefs. This makes him worth a fifth rounder. Of course, postseason honors for the Chiefs are looking likely, but the threshold for a fourth rounder is thought to be about $5m so it again seems unlikely. Dustin Keller, who of course no longer qualifies, would also have been worth a fifth rounder.
Of course, the Colts and Chiefs are both in the playoffs and one of them will be in round two because they’re playing each other. I still think it’s optimistic to expect either of these picks to be bumped up a round, but it’s a possibility worth bearing in mind.
Bell and Slauson are going to be worth 7th round picks, which means that my compensatory pick projection would be for a 4th, a 5th and two 7th round picks. In the unlikely event that Shonn Greene ends up qualifying, you could potentially swap out one of those 7th rounders for a 6th rounder.
As noted above, it doesn’t look like Greene will qualify, so 4, 5, 7, 7 remains the projection. The Bears and Cardinals didn’t make the postseason, so there’s still a chance those two seventh rounders might not qualify, but recent history would suggest that they probably will. There’s a slim chance that one of the other two picks could move up a round, but I don’t expect it.
On the basis of all this, the Jets’ draft pick situation for 2014 currently looks like this, although this is a projection with several moving parts that is subject to change. We’ll update after the season, but the status of the Revis pick won’t be known for certain until March and the compensatory picks won’t be announced until a couple of weeks later.
First round – one pick 18th
Second round – one pick 17th – estimated 49th overall
Third round – two picks 5th* and 16th – estimated 69th and 80th overall
Fourth round – two picks 15th and at the end of the round – estimated 114th and 134th overall
Fifth round – two picks 14th and at the end of the round – estimated 149th and 169th overall
Sixth round – one pick 19th – estimated 189th overall
Seventh round – three picks 18th and two at the end of the round – estimated 226th, 246th, 251st
Overall – 12 picks
* The first of the third round picks will become the fourth pick in the fourth round if Revis is cut by the Bucs in early March.
The exact order could change slightly if there are any forfeited picks and will be affected by the number of compensatory picks in each round and their order. Right now, nobody has forfeited any 2014 picks, but there was some discussion that the Steelers might because of the Mike Tomlin/Jacoby Jones incident. I’ve assumed not.
Please leave any questions, comments or corrections in the comments.