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Seahawks got no comp picks this year, but plenty coming in 2015

Golden Tate speaks to the media Jan. 29, 2014, a few days before the Super Bowl. He signed with Detroit earlier this month.
Golden Tate speaks to the media Jan. 29, 2014, a few days before the Super Bowl. He signed with Detroit earlier this month.
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

As expected, the Seahawks did not receive any compensatory draft picks when they were announced today, but the way things are going they could end up with the maximum four selections next year.

This is the second time in three years they have not received any comp picks – meaning they did not lose more qualifying free agents than they signed the previous year.

The Seahawks added three qualifying free agents last year – defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel – while losing just two, defensive linemen Jason Jones and Alan Branch.

But the Hawks certainly will be in line for a few extra draft choices in 2015 – and perhaps beyond. They might not be as good as what Baltimore got this year (a third-rounder, two fourth-rounders and a fifth) after losing players off its Super Bowl team last year, but the Hawks will definitely add a few.

At this point this offseason, they have lost seven qualifying free agents and signed none.

With Jared Allen deciding not to sign, the Hawks could end up adding a pick in the fourth, two picks in the fifth and one in the sixth in the 2015 draft.

Based on this year's numbers, Golden Tate ($6.2 million average with Detroit) would project as a fourth-round comp pick, cornerback Brandon Browner ($5.67 million with New England) and right tackle Breno Giacomini ($4.5 million with New York Jets) would project as fifths, cornerback Walter Thurmond ($3.5 million with New York Giants) and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald ($3 million with Tampa Bay) would project as sixth-rounders and guard Paul McQuistan ($1.5 million with Cleveland) and safety Chris Maragos ($1.33 million with Philadelphia) would be worth sevenths.

Those numbers are all subject to move a bit relative to the final numbers of the 2014 free-agent market, of course.

Bottom line: Even if they sign three qualifying players, the Hawks are in good position to receive four comp picks in 2015.

They could get more in 2016. Next year, the Hawks have about a dozen free agents and probably can't keep them all. They obviously plan to extend defensive backs Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, but -- barring any other extensions this offseason -- they will have to make decisions about defensive end Cliff Avril, guard James Carpenter, linebacker K.J. Wright, cornerback Byron Maxwell, wide receiver Doug Baldwin and linebacker Malcolm Smith.

In 2016, their top free agents are scheduled to be linebacker Bruce Irvin, running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Zach Miller, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, punter Jon Ryan, running back Robert Turbin and linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner and Ryan seem likely to return, but the rest could be headed elsewhere.

So, while the Hawks didn't get any comp picks this year, they will get a bunch in 2015 and perhaps beyond.


It has been widely reported by some who project/follow comp picks that players signed after the previous season starts do not qualify for comp picks, which has led some to think McDonald would not qualify for Seattle because he was cut before Week 1 and re-signed before Week 2. But that is inaccurate, based on at least two recent cases.

Miami pulled a similar maneuver with defensive back Will Allen in 2011, cutting him before the opener and then re-signing him before Week 2. He went on to play in 15 games and then was signed by New England the next year. He then factored into Miami's comp formula, which netted a fifth- and seventh-round pick in 2013.

In 2009, Carolina re-signed quarterback A.J. Feeley after Week 1. St. Louis signed him in 2010, netting the Panthers a seventh-round pick in 2011.

Based on those precedents, McDonald will indeed count in Seattle's comp formula next year.


This compensatory system has been in place since 1994, the year after unrestricted free agency was implemented.

The basic rules for comp picks are such:

**A team losing more or better qualifying free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive extra draft picks.

**Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula that uses salary, playing time and postseason honors. Only unrestricted free agents whose contracts naturally expire or void (no forced voids) are eligible under the formula, and those who sign one-year deals for low minimums generally do not count.

**A team receives picks that equal the net loss of compensatory free agents, with a maximum of four. The highest round in which a team can acquire a comp pick is the third (although a 10-year vet can net no more than a fifth).

**The league hands out 32 extra choices each year; if there are not 32 qualifying losses, the teams at the top of the draft receive the extra seventh-round picks until 32 choices have been allocated.

**Here are estimated draft pick/salary qualifiers based on this year's apparent cutoffs:
Third: $8 million
Fourth: $6 million
Fifth: $4 million
Sixth: $2.5 million
Seventh: $1 million


**The Rams, already loaded with draft picks, added three more comps: a sixth and two seventh-rounders. They have 12 picks now, including two in the first round and five in the seventh.

**The 49ers netted a third for losing safety Dashon Goldson. They have 11 picks, including two in the second and three each in the third and seventh.

**The Seahawks signing DE Cliff Avril netted Detroit a fourth-round pick. The Hawks have helped other teams pull some nice picks recently, too. In 2013, Green Bay got a fifth-round pick for losing QB Matt Flynn to Seattle and Tennessee got a sixth-rounder for losing DT Jason Jones. In 2012, the Vikings got a fourth-rounder for losing WR Sidney Rice to Seattle in 2011, and the Raiders received a fourth and fifth for losing TE Zach Miller and OG Robert Gallery to the Hawks.

**Baltimore pulled four comp picks – a third, two fourths and a fifth -- for losing players off its Super Bowl champion last year. The Ravens lead the NFL with 41 comp picks since 1994.

In the last 11 years, the Seahawks have received just 11 comp picks, with third-rounder Leroy Hill and seventh-rounder Malcolm Smith (the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP) contributing the most.

2014: None
2013: OG Jared Smith (7th), OT Michael Bowie (7th)
2012: None
2011: LB Malcolm Smith (7th)
2010: WR/DE Jameson Konz (7th)
2009: CB Courtney Greene, DE Nick Reed, TE Cam Morrah (7ths)
2008: None
2007: WR Jordan Kent (6th)
2006: WR Ben Obomanu (7th)
2005: LB Leroy Hill (3rd), OG Doug Nienhuis (7th)
2004: None

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