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Talking About Compensatory Picks and Darrelle Revis

One of the discussions I was having in the forum today was in regards to the trade value of Darrelle Revis and the option of waiting it out, see what happens in 2013 and then take a compensatory pick for him when he signs elsewhere. Adam Schefter made the same point on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, basically saying the Jets will sell low right now so why not just let him play out the contract. From a cap perspective the Jets create $6 million in additional cap room over the two years by trading him so thatís the financial reasoning. But lets about it a bit from a trade vs compensatory perspective.

Compensatory selections are essentially awarded as an offset for losses of valuable players in free agency. AdamJT13 is really the trailblazer who dug deep into the way the compensatory pool works and has allowed many of us to get a better handle on the way it works and I highly recommend everyone at least read this blog posting of his on the subject. The gist of it is that if you lose a high quality player, which is primarily decided by salary, and donít replace him with a similar high quality player, you get a draft pick. The highest compensatory pick that you can receive is a 3rd rounder. Apparently each round has a cutoff value which means that, in general, it doesnít have to be exact offsetting salaries, but instead is within an offsetting range. By that I mean if Darrelle Revis signs for $16 million a year there is no guarantee that you need to replace him with a $16 million dollar a year player.

Here are the 3rd round comp picks that have been awarded in recent years and their new team salaries:

2012- Oakland- Nnamdi Asomugha ($12 million per year)
2011- Panthers- Julius Peppers ($14 million per year)
2010- Bengals- TJ Houshmandzadeh ($8 million per year)
2010- Titans- Albert Haynesworth ($11.43 million per year)
2010- Falcons- Dominique Foxworth ($7 million per year)
2009- Patriots- Asante Samuel ($9.52 million per year)
2009- Bengals- Justin Smith ($7.5 million per year)
2009- Bears- Bernard Berrian ($7 million per year)
2009- Giants- Gibril Wilson ($6.5 million per year)
2008- Redskins- Derrick Dockery($7 million per year)
2008- Bengals- Eric Steinbach ($7 million per year)
2008- Falcons- Patrick Kerney ($6.25 million per year)
2008- Ravens- Adalius Thomas ($7.1 million per year)

While Adam states that the number rises each year and that there are other factors in play (games played, honors, etcÖ) you see a pretty wide range of salaries which makes it pretty apparent that you do not need $16 million a year to offset Revis. All it may take is another player who makes between $8 and 10 million a year that you signed as a true unrestricted (meaning his contract ended not that he was cut) free agent. If the Jets were to go after a decent QB that fit the criteria, even a mid-level player, he might offset Revis since most QBís will receive deals well over $8 million a year.

Furthermore the other issue that complicates the matter is that, based on how I interpret Adams writings, if you sign an equal number of compensatory formula qualifiers as you lose, regardless of salary, the best you can do is a 7th round pick. I may be reading that incorrectly, but it would seem to explain why the Arizona Cardinals did not receive a compensatory pick in 2009 until round 7. As you will recall the Jets signed Calvin Pace to a contract worth $7 million a year in 2008, which should qualify for a 3rd and certainly at least a 4th. The Cardinals that year did not sign anyone close to that salary, but were not rewarded until round 7. This would be a case where the net value of the loss far exceeds the net gain in UFA salary, but the best they could do was a 7th even though they lost a player who at the least should have been a 4th round compensatory pick.

So while Iíve used the 3rd round selection as the fallback for Revis many times it is not necessarily some guarantee. In order for it to happen you are essentially asking the Jets to go two years without spending money. We know they are likely not spending in 2013, but if you clear up the cap in 2014 again you are asking the team to not spend on true free agents in order to maximize your return for Revis. Itís not even necessarily avoiding the Bart Scott style free agent, but just decent free agents in general. As it stands now the only UFAs the Jets will have in 2014 are Revis, Pace, Eric Smith, Vlad Ducasse, and Joe McKnight. Pace and Smith will likely be cut this year and I donít think McKnight would ever make enough in free agency to even be a qualifying player. So if its Revis and Vlad the Jets only protection for the 3rd round pick would be to sign all of 1 qualifying free agent. You know that this would be completely unacceptable to the fanbase if the front office sat on cap room and looked to not improve the team because they needed a 3rd round draft choice.

The other thing to consider is that no compensatory pick is immediate. If the Jets trade Revis in 2013 odds are they will receive pick(s) and potentially a player in 2013. In my conditional pick theory Iíve put forward they would receive a 2nd rounder in 2013 and then potentially swap 1st and 2nd rounders in 2014. Thatís immediate help where you pick from a much deeper talent pool than if you get the compensatory selection which does not begin until the completion of the 3rd round of the draft. The Jets would not be awarded a compensatory selection until 2015 if they allow his contract to void. That is three drafts away. That is a long time to wait for a potential 3rd round selection that might be a 7th or might be nothing at all. You cost yourself a much higher draft pick in the present and $6 million of cap room over the next two years to have Revis rehabbing his way through a 2013 campaign on a team that has no Quarterback and is in the midst of a rebuild. Thatís a pretty steep price.

I just cant see this as an option. You either trade him this season or you make every effort to re-sign him knowing that the costs are going to be upwards of $14 million a season. To just let it play out in hopes of a compensatory pick is not going to be in the best interest of the New York Jets both in the short and long term.

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