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NFL Draft 2018: Cleveland Browns don’t have any compensatory picks

After having four compensatory picks last year, the Browns are not expected to have any in 2018. We explain why.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The compensatory picks have been confirmed, and there are none for the Browns. Our initial explanation remains below.

Last year, the Cleveland Browns made a killing off of compensatory draft picks, as they were awarded four of them. That won’t be the case this year; although no official announcement has been made, we know that the Browns will not have any compensatory draft picks in 2018.

Let’s go over why the Browns aren’t being awarded any compensatory picks. 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:

  1. The players who Cleveland lost need to have stuck with the other team for most of the season.
  2. 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.
  3. They have to be signed during the normal free agency period (and not in August, for example).

Over the Cap provided a cancellation chart to show how the Browns lost three free agents, but then added three:

A player like CB Jason McCourty does not count in the “signed” column because he was cut by his previous team. Similarly, players like TE Gary Barnidge and CB Joe Haden do not count in the “lost” column, since Cleveland opted to cut them while they still had years remaining on their contract.

In order for the Browns to be eligible for compensatory picks in 2018, they would have needed to have lost more players than they signed in 2017. For that, we need to look at the net change. The Browns lost 3 players but gained 3 players, which is a net loss of 0 players. Therefore, Cleveland gets nothing.

Teams can receive a maximum of four compensatory picks each year. We could have an official announcement from the NFL on compensatory picks soon, as it was announced this day last year.