If it seems like we’ve been talking a lot about the potential number of Compensatory Picks for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2020 NFL Draft. . .well, that’s only because we have been. Largely because, for most of the time that the NFL has given out those selections, the Vikings have not been a beneficiary. . .it has just been in recent years that the team has been allotted extra picks for free agent losses.
A few weeks ago, when the deadline for free agent signings affecting the Compensatory Pick formula had passed, the folks from Over the Cap (who are, easily, the leaders in projecting Compensatory Picks) had the Vikings receiving three selections: a third-round pick for the loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a sixth-round pick for the loss of running back Latavius Murray, and a seventh-round pick for the loss of quarterback Trevor Siemian. However, OTC has altered that projection slightly, saying that the team will no longer get a pick for Murray because of the way his contract was treated.
After researching details on their most recently expired contracts, there are two players that I am removing from OTC’s comp pick program because I think there is a very good change they will not count in the 2020 compensatory formula. Those two players are Mike Iupati, going from Arizona to Seattle, and Latavius Murray, going from Minnesota to New Orleans. In both cases, shortened contracts are the reason why I’m guessing they will not qualify. Both players renegotiated their contracts on the same day (March 15, two days into the 2018 league year) that altered the 2019 years to allow the contracts to expire one year earlier than planning at signing. There is precedent to suggest that these type of shortenings disqualify players from counting in the compensatory formula–Laveranues Coles in 2010 and Steven Jackson in 2014 are two examples.
I have higher confidence that Murray will not count as opposed to Iupati due to the difference in how the 2019 years were altered. In Iupati’s case, 2019 was turned into a void year, something that the Cardinals may have intentionally done as they later restructured $4 million of his remaining base salary to defer his cap hit. But for Murray, the Vikings outright deleted his 2019 year, resulting in $600,000 of his prorated signing bonus to accelerate from 2019 to 2018. AdamJT13, the pioneer of comp pick projection, observed that “[p]layers who have had contract years simply deleted — not converted to voidable years — by renegotiation have never qualified for the equation.”
Not to fear, though. . .the Vikings are still projected to get three Compensatory Picks per OTC’s formula. However, rather than a third, a sixth, and a seventh, they’re now projected to receive a third and two sevenths. The contracts of Murray and Iupati not being included in the formula pushes the free agent contract of Tom Compton up into the top 32 free agent deals in terms of average per year (APY) value, so the Vikings are now projected to receive a seventh-round pick for losing him.
It’s not a huge difference or anything, but it is a difference, and one we thought we’d bring to everyone’s attention.