Considering that the final proposal for the Collective Bargaining Agreement is not even fully written up yet, it goes without saying that there are still a lot of details within the deal to which we are unfamiliar, and which are gradually coming to light. Mike Florio pointed out a somewhat interesting one, though perhaps one that may quickly be rendered obsolete.
The change pertains to the manner in which the compensatory pick formula is calculated, and as we know, there are certainly teams like the Baltimore Ravens who pay very close attention to this. Over the Cap has done some good work in demystifying this in recent years as well.
Even the Pittsburgh Steelers acknowledged the realities of the compensatory formula last season. They knew they were in-line for a third-round pick for the loss of Le’Veon Bell before the Philadelphia Eagles released one of their qualifying free agent losses, L.J. Fort, which had the effect of cancelling out Bell. In order to restore that pick, they released one of their free agent signings, Donte Moncrief.
While that would still be in effect today, and frankly that is the change I would like to see happen, according to a summary through the NFLPA, the new CBA is taking steps toward perhaps protecting some fringe veteran players who may otherwise have their free agency prospects injured because of the formula.
Currently, many teams wait to sign certain free agents until the compensatory formula period ends, to make sure that those signings do not impact their gains. Now, under the new CBA, all veteran players who sign a one-year contract of $1.75 million or less will be excluded from the equation.
I do question how significant this is, however, because already we have crossed the $1 million threshold for those who qualify. According to Over the Cap, for example, the lowest salary that qualified for a compensatory pick that was not cancelled out was that signed by Josh Mauro for $1.3 million.
With the salary cap continuing to go up and up, and expected to make a series of substantial jumps in the next few years, it will probably be not long at all before players who sign one-year contracts worth $1.75 million would already not even qualify for one of the 32 compensatory pick slots, because other contracts signed would have outranked them.
In case you were wondering and did not bother to click the link, the Steelers are projected to receive the sixth-highest compensatory pick in the third round for losing Bell. Trey Flowers, Landon Collins, Trent Brown, Earl Thomas, and Tyrann Mathieu were the players who qualified for a higher pick for their teams. Only seven third-round picks are anticipated to be awarded.