2020 Offseason Questions: Will Wisniewski’s Deal Qualify For Comp Pick Formula?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Stefen Wisniewski’s contract register in the compensatory pick formula?

This is a question that I have seen a few people asking, and one that I have asked myself, so I thought it would be worth exploring. While it’s incredibly early—like 11 months before the 2021 compensatory picks will actually be announced—the bulk of the legwork that goes into the formula is completed early on, so early projections still hold value.

Prior to Wisniewski’s signing, the Steelers had lost four free agents that qualify for the formula and gained two, and were projected to net three compensatory picks as a result, including one fourth-round pick for Javon Hargrave and one sixth-round pick for Sean Davis, with the deal that B.J. Finney signed being cancelled out by the one added for Derek Watt and Eric Ebron’s deal cancelling out that signed by Tyler Matakevich.

Wisniewski’s contract is reportedly a two-year deal that averages $1.425 million. Last season, the lowest-qualifying contract was a $1.325 million deal signed by Tramaine Brock, so this contract is not too far from what the floor was a year ago, and it would be expected to rise each year.

Currently, his deal does not register within the top 35 contracts signed by players who are expected to yield a compensatory pick for their team. This means that all cancellations and limitations (teams are only allowed a maximum of four compensatory picks) are factored in.

In other words, if the compensatory window were to close right now, it doesn’t seem as though Wisniewski would qualify for the formula, meaning that it would not cost the Steelers one of their compensatory picks. But needless to say, this situation will change significantly, particularly as teams who are projected to net a high number of picks sign free agents who cancel out some of their gains.

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