With how free agency has gone this year, a lot of Browns fans have been wondering whether Cleveland is trying to secure compensatory picks for the 2016 NFL Draft. What about compensatory picks for this year's draft, though? For that, we need to look back at last year's offseason moves.
Every year at the Annual League Meetings (usually on the second day), the NFL announces the 32 compensatory picks that will be handed out to teams. I would expect that to take place on Monday, March 23 this season. The Browns are not projected to receive any compensatory picks for the 2015 NFL Draft.
The basic formula to start with (before looking at contracts) is to look at which free agents were lost and gained during the previous offseason. These have to be players who became unrestricted free agents, not players who were cut. There are also three other conditions to be aware of when it comes to players who might have signed with other teams:
- The players who Cleveland lost need to have stuck with the other team for most of the season
- There used to be a stipulation that players with cheap contracts, such as the veteran minimum, did not count. However, recent examples show they might be counting now if they contribute to a significant amount of playing time.
- They have to be signed during the normal free agency period (and not in August, for example).
Players Lost (3)
- (1 year, $795,000)
-OG Shawn Lauvao (4 years, $17 million)
-SS (4 years, $22.5 million)
Players Signed (5)
-RB Ben Tate (2 years, $6.1 million)
-TE (3 years, $5.625 million)
-OL Paul McQuistan (2 years, $3 million)
-ILB Karlos Dansby (4 years, $24 million)
-SS Donte Whitner (4 years, $28 million)
If the Browns had lost more players than they had signed, they would receive at least one compensatory selection. Because they signed more players (five) than they lost (three), they won't get anything.
Peaking ahead to next year, it's looking like the Browns could receive three fairly high compensatory picks if things stand the way they are now. Although the Browns have signed players like QB Josh McCown, WR Brian Hartline, WR Dwayne Bowe, DL Randy Starks, and CB Tramon Williams, Williams was the only true free agent as everybody else was cut by their former team.