Steelers News

Final Compensatory Calculations Project Steelers To Net Only 4th-Round Pick Pick For Bud Dupree

It was hoped that the Pittsburgh Steelers would at least receive a strong haul in the form of compensatory picks when they failed to retain several key free agents this offseason. For a variety of reasons, largely in their own control, however, they are only projected to receive one compensatory pick, and it is projected to be in the fourth round.

That is the conclusion reached by Nick Korte of Over the Cap, who specializes in projecting the compensatory selections every year and has as good an understanding of how the compensatory formula works as anybody else.

While it will likely still be about another month or so before the compensatory picks are formally announced, the Steelers should not be expecting to get anything for any of their free agent losses other than for outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who signed one of the larger unrestricted free agent contracts last offseason.

But because of Dupree’s lack of playing time this past season or any post-season acknowledgements, Korte is projecting that his salary alone will not be significant enough to rise to the level of a third-rounder, which is the highest possible compensatory selection. In fact, he is projecting only wide receiver Kenny Golladay to net a third-round pick. Dupree is projected to have the third-highest overall compensatory value, however, behind Golladay and Trey Hendrickson.

The Steelers lost two other free agents who qualified in the compensatory formula, Matt Feiler projected to be valued at a fifth-round level and Mike Hilton at a sixth, but their values are expected to be cancelled out by Joe Haeg and Ahkello Witherspoon—both of which they had control over.

Witherspoon was a compensatory free agent when they acquired him via trade, similar to when they brought in safety J.J. Wilcox several years ago. His acquisition wipes out Hilton’s sixth-round pick.

The question of Haeg was whether or not he would garner enough playing time to earn additional compensatory points that would qualify him for the formula and rank high enough to be above the cutoff. Because he did get that playing time, it is expected to cancel out the fifth-round pick the Steelers could have otherwise gotten for Feiler.

In a best-case scenario, which would have involved Dupree playing a full season, Haeg not playing enough, and the Steelers not acquiring a compensatory free agent via trade, they could have gotten additional selections this year in the third, fifth, and sixth rounds. Instead, are likely to only have a fourth, though it is still possible that the cutoff calculations by round enable Dupree’s to be elevated to a third. It’s also possible that Haeg could still fall outside of the seventh-round cutoff, which would reinstate the fifth-round compensatory pick for Feiler.

Of course, Witherspoon proved his value, so it’s hard to complain too much about the team deciding to acquire him. That will especially be the case if they do manage to re-sign him and he establishes himself as a regular quality player in the secondary. After all, the idea is acquiring talent, not draft picks.

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