It was a little under a month ago that it was announced former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns had signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears. He proved to be one of six unrestricted free agents from Pittsburgh who would ultimately sign deals with other teams this offseason, which was among the most in the league, even though they had among the fewest unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason.
The hope was that Burns would have signed a contract significant enough that it would qualify for the compensatory pick formula. I’m not sure how many people were really holding out hope for that. I’m also not sure when the information finally came out, but I know it was a while.
According to Over the Cap, however, Burns only signed a veteran-minimum qualifying contract that comes with a reduced salary cap hit, which as should go without saying means that the deal he signed with the Bears will in no way effect Pittsburgh’s compensatory pick formula for 2020.
Even without Burns’ contract qualifying, however, the Steelers are still expected to be in-line to receive three compensatory picks in 2021. The site currently projects the team to gain a fourth-round selection for the loss of Javon Hargrave, a sixth-round pick for the loss of B.J. Finney, and a seventh-round pick for the contract signed by Nick Vannett. The projected picks for Finney and Vannett fall below the 32-pick minimum, so as of now, the Steelers are only projected to earn one compensatory pick, for Hargrave.
Safety Sean Davis and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich both signed contracts in free agency that qualified for the compensatory pick formula, but they are projected to be canceled out by the deals signed by new tight end Eric Ebron and fullback Derek Watt, respectively. Davis was projected at a sixth-round level, Matakevich at a seventh.
The Steelers also signed another unrestricted free agent, offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski. However, his two-year deal averages less than $1.5 million per season, and is not large enough to qualify for the compensatory pick formula.
Pittsburgh doesn’t often get a ton of compensatory picks. Most recently, they had a sixth-round compensatory pick last year, used to select inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III. They also had a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, which they used to draft Pro Bowl running back James Conner. A 2016 sixth-round pick yielded Travis Feeney, and another sixth in 2015 landed them Anthony Chickillo.
If you’re so inclined to read more, the rest is listed here. The most notably names on the list are Mike Vrabel, William Gay, Willie Colon, Kelvin Beachum, and Vince Williams. Oh, and some guy named Hines Ward.