For some reason I am overly obsessed with the free agency nuance that is the NFL’s compensatory draft pick formula. It is a fairly secretive formula that seems to throw speculators a curveball right about the time they think they have it figured out. The formula looks at unrestricted free agents (not restricted, released, traded or retired) and the contracts they sign, in addition to a year’s worth of performance, to decide how the 32 compensatory picks will be awarded.
In short, the picks will go to teams that lose more free agents than they sign, with the value of those picks increasing with the formulaic value of the players lost. There are still plenty of unknowns at this point to truly give an accurate prediction, but I’m attempting to decipher the Vikings odds of getting an extra pick or two in the 2015 NFL Draft.
First, let us take a look at which UFAs they signed away from other teams:
Linval Joseph, DT, Age 25: $31.5 million over five years.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, Age 26: $11.25 million over three years.
Corey Wootton, DE, Age 26: $1.5 million for one year.
Kurt Coleman, S, Age 25: $900,000 for one year.
Vlad Ducasse, OL, Age 26: $795,000 for one year.
Now, here is a list of Vikings UFAs that moved on and signed with other teams:
Jared Allen, DE, Age 32: $32 million over four years.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Age 27: $10.5 million over three years.
Josh Freeman, QB, Age 26: $795,000 for one year (but has already been cut).
Joe Webb, QB/WR, Age 27: $795,000 for one year.
J’Marcus Webb, OL, Age 25: $730,000 for one year.
Chris Cook, CB, Age 27: $730,000 for one year.
The long and short of this story is that the Vikings, as it appears right now, signed fewer unrestricted free agents than they let leave by a margin of one. With big contracts essentially cancelling each other out (i.e. Joseph for Allen, Munnerlyn for Gerhart, etc.) that leaves the Vikings looking at the possibility of one late round compensatory pick to be awarded.
There are some unknowns here. How will all these guys perform in 2014? Will Kevin Williams or Marvin Mitchell sign elsewhere still and impact the formula? Could the Vikings still sign someone and impact the formula? How does Josh Freeman already being released impact the formula?
As of today, however, here is my prediction for the 2015 NFL compensatory pick results for the Vikings: They will get one seventh round pick.