Rough Year For Steelers Free Agency Departures Is Bad News For Compensatory Formula

This has not exactly been the greatest of offseasons for former members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a few of whom are currently looking for work now after failing to catch on to the 53-man roster of the teams they signed with this spring or summer.

And I think that it hurt their draft haul next year. While the compensatory pick formula is still some form of alchemy to me, the Cardinals releasing fifth-year outside linebacker Jarvis Jones with an injury settlement may well have had the effect of canceling out the projected fifth-round pick that they were probably planning on netting for the loss of Lawrence Timmons.

They already lost other opportunities to accrue compensatory picks with the departures of Markus Wheaton and Jones by offsetting their losses with the gains of Tyson Alualu and Coty Sensabaugh, who I believe signed contracts large enough to quality to factor into the formula.

The failure of Jones to make the Cardinals’ roster no longer offsets any of their gains, but I can’t help but wonder if this thought was in the Steelers’ minds on the day after the final roster cuts, even though they don’t seem to be a team that particularly spends much time worrying about compensatory draft picks, barring obvious situations like losing a Mike Wallace.

When the team traded for safety J.J. Wilcox, they brought in another free agent who factors into their compensatory pick formula. Had Jones not already been released, his acquisition probably would have canceled out Timmons departure anyway.

But perhaps they already gave the loss of that compensatory pick consideration when they made the Wilcox trade, understanding that it would not hurt their gains anyway because what they had to lose would have already been lost.

It would not surprise me at all if the Steelers did not factor this into their decision to make the trade, of course, because that just doesn’t seem to be how they run things, even if other teams do operate in that manner.

Yet they do think about the formula at times. I believe it was earlier this year that General Manager Kevin Colbert talked about the compensatory picks and how they had two different people working on figuring out their likely gains, and that they pulled up two different answers, neither of which matched the third-round compensatory pick they ended up getting.

On the surface, however, it seems rather unlikely at the moment that the Steelers are going to see any pleasant surprises come draft time next year when the compensatory picks are announced. At the moment, I don’t believe that they will be seeing any compensatory picks in 2018.

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