Rationale behind compensatory draft picks?

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Ice_Ice_Brady

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I cannot understand the rationale behind these picks. I understand this goes way back in the NFL, and I'm glad the Patriots usually stock up on them, but why? It diminishes the purpose of looking to trade a player to get something back in return and offers a reward for failing to re-sign a player.

Take for example what the Patriots did with the cornerback situation over the last two years.

-Did not resign Aqib Talib and received a third round compensatory pick.
-Signed Darrelle Revis, then failed to exercise his option a year later, getting another third-round compensatory pick.
-Theoretically, the Patriots could have used Revis's money to get another star cornerback and repeat the process again.

It seems that going from Talib to Revis, or freeing cap space for that matter, constitutes adequate compensation for letting a player walk.

In some ways, compensatory picks are counterproductive to the league in that fans like continuity with teams keeping their players around; I've always been of the belief that teams should get a cap discount when re-signing a player to encourage long-term service, better for fans and overall experience.

Thoughts?
 

50-yard-line

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
A hard salary cap simply makes it impossible to keep all the players. You're not keeping a player like Talib with cap restrictions forcing your hand.

At least the picks help after the loss of a good player - and keep in mind the low percentage of hits on a a 3rd (highest comp pick) through 6th round pick.
 

aluminum seats

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
It's a reasonable question. The Pats sign a guy for two years, with the second year clearly bogus. And then when they don't pick up that second year as expected, they get a third round pick.

Don't get me wrong, as you say it's great the Pats take advantage of it, but it does seem a little strange.
 

Tuck

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
It incentivizes teams to not bid on their own player at the end of the contract thereby keeping salaries lower than they would be otherwise. It essentially takes one bidder out of the market for the players services.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

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It incentivizes teams to not bid on their own player at the end of the contract thereby keeping salaries lower than they would be otherwise. It essentially takes one bidder out of the market for the players services.

The Patriots did bid, and quite hard, for both Revis and Talib.
 

rochrist

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2019 Weekly Picks Winner
It incentivizes teams to not bid on their own player at the end of the contract thereby keeping salaries lower than they would be otherwise. It essentially takes one bidder out of the market for the players services.
The player would have to be pretty bad for the team to be 'incentivized' to not bid on them for the grand reward of a 3rd pick. Keep in mind that it's only players at the very top of the league who result in 3rd rounders. 95 times out of 100 the 3rd rounder is not going to be close to an equal replacement.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Maybe I didn't make my point clear here:

Isn't financial savings - presumably to sign a player or players of equal value - a perfect solution for a team to be "compensated" for letting a player walk? Because they are using that money somewhere else.
 

meatface

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
for some reason the NFL and the MLB feel the need to give/take away picks because of who teams sign in free agency, its really dumb.
 

betterthanthealternative

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Take for example what the Patriots did with the cornerback situation over the last two years.

-Did not resign Aqib Talib and received a third round compensatory pick.
-Signed Darrelle Revis, then failed to exercise his option a year later, getting another third-round compensatory pick.
-Theoretically, the Patriots could have used Revis's money to get another star cornerback and repeat the process again.

 

betterthanthealternative

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I cannot understand the rationale behind these picks. I understand this goes way back in the NFL, and I'm glad the Patriots usually stock up on them, but why? It diminishes the purpose of looking to trade a player to get something back in return and offers a reward for failing to re-sign a player....In some ways, compensatory picks are counterproductive to the league in that fans like continuity with teams keeping their players around; I've always been of the belief that teams should get a cap discount when re-signing a player to encourage long-term service, better for fans and overall experience.

Thoughts?

This is one of those rules that the Pats take advantage of in ways that the League and owners didn't anticipate, adding to the reasons they hate the Pats.

My hunch is that it was put in place as a salve for rich owners with the emotional resiliency of a 4 year old and that felt hurt because they lost a good player (i.e. toy soldier or dump truck) to another kid in the sandbox.

No one ever stopped to think about how it could be game-theoried, of course, except the Pats. Its like if Mom came down and gave Tommy a freezer pop because another kid took his toy. The smart kid in the sandbox will pretty quickly find a way to lose all his toys, and start selling freezer pops from his quickly burgeoning inventory, while the other kids are sitting around wondering what is happening.
 

BelichickFan

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It's a weird system for sure. The reason was to "reward" teams who draft and develop well that they can't possibly re-sign all their players so at least they get something back for their efforts.
 

borg

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Its like if Mom came down and gave Tommy a freezer pop because another kid took his toy. The smart kid in the sandbox will pretty quickly find a way to lose all his toys, and start selling freezer pops from his quickly burgeoning inventory, while the other kids are sitting around wondering what is happening.
Why can't the kid who first took the toys now bully his way and take all the pops he wants….like Goodell?
 

tasmlab

Starting QB, won 20 SBs, number is retired
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Maybe I didn't make my point clear here:

Isn't financial savings - presumably to sign a player or players of equal value - a perfect solution for a team to be "compensated" for letting a player walk? Because they are using that money somewhere else.

Makes sense to me.

If they did away with the compensatory draft picks, I don't think the game would change and it would minimize fans bellyaching about one team getting more or less seemingly arbitrarily.

And/but I don't think extra late round picks is a prime determiner of who wins and loses during the season.

Or, you draft a couple Tom Brady's and a few Julian Edelmans late and destroy everybody.
 

Gronk

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
It's a little weird but on the whole I think it's a positive in that it gives the team with a net loss of FAs another way to refill their roster. Yes they have their normal 7 draft picks as well but so do the teams that signed all their players away in free agency. So it's just another alternative, and a pretty minimal one at that. Not that the draft is unimportant, but it's unlikely that you're going to replace Revis with a 3rd/4th rd pick. (I realize this example is funny because the Pats essentially did replace Revis with an UDFA. I think we can all generally agree this is not the norm league-wide.)

But it's a benefit to the teams losing players by allowing them an option to pick up talent apart from the remaining free agent pool, UDFA (presumably not as good as drafted players), or trading away other assets for picks or players to replace what was lost.

Maybe I didn't make my point clear here:

Isn't financial savings - presumably to sign a player or players of equal value - a perfect solution for a team to be "compensated" for letting a player walk? Because they are using that money somewhere else.
Yes the savings is a value in and of itself in this scenario, but I think the intent is to not force the team to spend the money in FA just because they have it. It's very much a rule geared towards helping the owner/GM/teambuilder as opposed to the players (though teams clearly can't help themselves with free agent money anyway). E.g. by not paying Revis you can afford other players, yes, but maybe you don't want those players, or maybe those players already signed with other teams while you were negotiating, or maybe they didn't want to come to your team. And you don't want the dregs of the free agent pool for minimum contracts either...though of course the odds say that this is where your 5th rd compensatory pick ends up.

Of course it can be gamed and used to an advantage, though I don't think the Pats are the only team that does that. I believe the Ravens have been awarded the most picks in total. The system certainly gives advantages to teams that are already good, because they're more likely to lose free agents to lesser teams overpaying for them.

In general I think there are way too many ways to **** with the "hard cap" of the NFL - all the LTBE, NLBTE, playing around with yearly salaries where you make $1m this year but $22 next, signing bonuses, option years, etc, etc. I respect that it's part of the game and I actually enjoy the hell out of following it and learning about it, but as the cap continues to rise (and with volatility where it goes up $1m one year and $12m the next) it's only going to get worse.
 

DarrylS

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Never understood the rational, but like the outcome.. Mike Reiss comments, not sure but suspect that the majority have occurred since 2001...

6. Did You Know: Since the NFL first started awarding compensatory draft picks in 1994, the Patriots have received 33 selections. That ranks as the fourth-highest total in the NFL, behind the Ravens (47), Cowboys (37) and Packers (37).
 

Tuck

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
The player would have to be pretty bad for the team to be 'incentivized' to not bid on them for the grand reward of a 3rd pick. Keep in mind that it's only players at the very top of the league who result in 3rd rounders. 95 times out of 100 the 3rd rounder is not going to be close to an equal replacement.
True, it's not a huge prize. I'm not saying it is. However, I am saying it's an incentive; a factor the team considers when deciding to let a player "walk" or enter into the bidding for the player's services.

It's another example of the owners throwing an obstacle in the way of the players getting what they would in a free market for labor, like the one we all enjoy.

If the owners didn't have the antitrust exemption to hide behind, these compensatory picks wouldn't be allowed. I guess that's my point in a nutshell.
 
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RayClay

Hall of Fame Poster
Stops the idiot teams from bidding up the select free agents so that teams are stuck paying three guys and filling the rest of the roster with scrubs.
 
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