Under Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers were rarely major players in free agency. One contributing factor to that approach was the NFL’s compensatory pick formula, which awards extra draft picks in rounds three through seven of the NFL Draft to teams that lost more unrestricted free agents than they gained.
In 2020, the Packers are likely to have no compensatory picks for the second straight year, reflecting new general manager Brian Gutekunst’s more aggressive approach to free agency. However, that approach — which came to a head in March as the team agreed to terms with four players in the span of a few hours — did help a few other NFL teams pick up comp picks of their own.
In fact, each of the four teams that the Packers’ additions came from are likely to get at least one comp pick in 2020, according to Over the Cap’s projections. Although just two of the picks correspond to the players who signed with the Packers, Green Bay’s contracts with the other two helped cancel out additions by that old team and ensured that a different lost player would equate to a comp pick.
Here’s a look at how those picks will likely break down.
Za’Darius Smith: Third-round pick (Ravens)
Smith, the Packers’ highest-priced free agent signing, came from the Baltimore Ravens, who have earned a well-deserved reputation for accruing compensatory picks. With an average annual contract value of $16.5 million, Smith’s deal should get the Ravens one of the coveted third-round comp picks in 2020. Baltimore did sigh one high-priced free agent this year, landing safety Earl Thomas, but they also lost linebacker C.J. Mosley to the Jets, so those transactions are projected to cancel out.
The comp pick for Smith is one of three that the Ravens are currently projected to receive, along with a fourth-round pick for wide receiver John Brown (who signed with the Buffalo Bills) and a fifth-rounder for edge rusher Terrell Suggs (Cardinals).
The “other” Smith, who came over from Washington, will not end up getting his old team a comp pick. That is because Washington signed safety Landon Collins to a $14 million per year deal, slightly eclipsing the $13M per year that Smith received from the Packers. Washington is in line for a fourth-rounder, however, as Jamison Crowder’s $9.5M/year contract with the Jets will cash in a pick.
Adrian Amos: Fourth-round pick (Bears)
With Amos coming to Green Bay from Chicago, the Bears are likely to get what could be their first compensatory pick in over a decade - a fourth-rounder. He is the only player lost or gained by the Bears with a contract value exceeding $7 million annually. Cornerback Bryce Callahan headed to Denver for that number, but appears likely to be canceled out by some of the Bears’ signings.
Interestingly, the Packers unloaded safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft, trading him to Washington midway through last season. Now, the Bears have Clinton-Dix in the fold on a one year deal and should get a fourth-rounder of their own as a result of the Packers picking up Amos.
Interestingly, Callahan landing in Denver is a reason why the Broncos will not get a fifth-round pick for Turner, who signed a $7 million deal of his own in Green Bay. Denver might still land three picks, but because of their additions this offseason, none of them will likely be earlier than round six.
Packers’ Comp Picks
The Packers, meanwhile, predictably will get no compensatory picks, as they had just four qualifying players leave, all of whom had contract values lower than Turner’s. In other years, Green Bay might have hauled in three sixth-rounders for Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, and Jake Ryan, plus a seventh for Bashaud Breeland, but the additions of the four players above will cancel those out and ensure that Brian Gutekunst has no extra ammunition in 2020 as a result of this year’s free agency period.