For the fourth year in a row, the Cleveland Browns do not have any compensatory picks for the 2021 NFL Draft. The announcement on compensatory picks was made earlier today, as teams like the Rams got especially richer, adding two third-round picks.
Let’s go over why the Browns aren’t being awarded any compensatory picks. First off, it’s worth nothing that a lot of things changed in the 2020 CBA with respect to how compensatory free agents are calculated. Trying to decipher it might make your head spin, but go ahead and try to read the CBA language here, or Over The Cap’s interpretation here.
We’ll stick with the basics. The basic formula to start with (before looking at contracts and player rankings) 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 must have remained with the other team for most of the season.
- 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 nine:
A player like LB Malcolm Smith does not count in the “signed” column because he was signed in August 2020 when teams were already having training camp. Similarly, players like LB Christian Kirksey and S Morgan Burnett do not count in the “lost” column, since Cleveland opted to cut them while they still had years remaining on their contract. Also, S Damarious Randall does not count because the team that originally signed him as a free agent, the Las Vegas Raiders, cut him in September 2020.
In order for the Browns to have been eligible for compensatory picks in 2021, they would have needed to have lost more players than they signed in 2010. That was not the case, so therefore, Cleveland gets nothing. Teams can receive a maximum of four compensatory picks each year.