The NFL awarded 13 teams with a total of 33 compensatory picks for the 2016 NFL Draft.  NFL league rules state that teams receive compensation in way of compensatory picks through the yearly NFL draft if a team loses a high number of unrestricted free agents or better known as ‘compensatory free agents’ than they acquire in the previous year.  These picks are positioned between the third through sixth rounds in 2016 based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost, other years compensatory picks were granted through the seventh rounds, each year is different.

My 15 years in the league, the only members that really understood the compensatory formula was the NFL Management Council and the formula rules seem to change year to year.  What I gathered as a base rule was compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on unrestricted free agents, salary, playing time which is the total number of snaps played in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) and postseason honors in the way of All Pro team and Pro Bowl.  The catch was not every free agent lost or signed by a club was covered by this formula.

As explained by my friends at and AdamJT13 the mastermind behind breaking down the NFL’s compensatory system – “Each qualifying player has a value based on his contract, playing time and postseason honors, and that value corresponds to a round in the draft. In the compensatory equation, each qualifying player that a team signs cancels out a qualifying player that the team lost whose value is the highest in the same round. If there are no lost players remaining in that round, the signed player cancels out the lost player whose value is the next-highest. A signed player will cancel out a lost player whose value falls in a higher round only if there are no remaining lost players. After all of a team’s qualifying signed players have canceled out a lost player, the team can receive a comp pick for each qualifying player who remains. For example, consider a team that loses one qualifying player whose value falls in the third round and another qualifying player whose value falls in the sixth round but signs a qualifying player whose value falls in the third round. That team would receive a sixth-round comp pick because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the higher-valued player. If the signed player’s value were equal to a fourth-round pick or lower, however, the team would receive a third-round comp pick, because the signed player would cancel out the loss of the lower-valued player”.

A rule change approved by all 32 clubs in 2015, will permit compensatory draft picks to be traded starting 2017 NFL Draft.  For the 2016 NFL Draft Compensatory picks are not allowed to be traded.


Below are the compensatory draft picks for the 2016 NFL Draft, which will be held on April 28-30 in Chicago, IL


Round Round Choice/

Overall Selection

NFL Club
3 33-95 Detroit Lions
3 34-96 New England Patriots
3 35-97 Seattle Seahawks
3 36-98 Denver Broncos
4 33-131 Green Bay Packers
4 34-132 Baltimore Ravens
4 35-133 San Francisco 49ers
4 36-134 Baltimore Ravens
4 37-135 Dallas Cowboys
4 38-136 Denver Broncos
4 39-137 Green Bay Packers
4 40-138 Cleveland Browns
4 41-139 Buffalo Bills
5 33-170 Arizona Cardinals
5 34-171 Seattle Seahawks
5 35-172 Cleveland Browns
5 36-173 Cleveland Browns
5 37-174 San Francisco 49ers
5 38-175 San Diego Chargers
6 33-208 New England Patriots
6 34-209 Baltimore Ravens
6 35-210 Detroit Lions
6 36-211 San Francisco 49ers
6 37-212 Dallas Cowboys
6 38-213 San Francisco 49ers
6 39-214 New England Patriots
6 40-215 Seattle Seahawks
6 41-216 Dallas Cowboys
6 42-217 Dallas Cowboys
6 43-218 Buffalo Bills
6 44-219 Denver Broncos
6 45-220 Pittsburgh Steelers
6 46-221 New England Patriots


Below is the breakdown of compensatory free agents lost and signed in 2015 by the clubs that will receive compensatory picks in the 2016 draft.


ARIZONA Lost: Sam Acho, Antonio Cromartie, Paul Fanaika, Rob Housler, Dan Williams
  Gained: Mike Iupati, Corey Peters, Cory Redding, Sean Weatherspoon
BALTIMORE Lost: Owen Daniels, Pernell McPhee, Torrey Smith, Darian Stewart, Tyrod Taylor
  Gained: Kendrick Lewis
BUFFALO Lost: Erik Pears, Da’Norris Searcy, Lee Smith, C.J. Spiller
  Gained: Tyrod Taylor
CLEVELAND Lost: Miles Austin, Jordan Cameron, Brian Hoyer, Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard, Buster Skrine
  Gained: Rob Housler, Tramon Williams
DALLAS Lost: Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Dwayne Harris, Henry Melton, DeMarco Murray, Jermey Parnell, George Selvie
  Gained: Andrew Gachkar, Greg Hardy, Darren McFadden
DENVER Lost: Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Terrance Knighton, Will Montgomery, Rahim Moore, Jacob Tamme, Julius Thomas
  Gained: Owen Daniels, Darian Stewart
DETROIT Lost: Kellen Davis, Nick Fairley, Garrett Reynolds, Ndamukong Suh
  Gained: Josh Wilson
GREEN BAY Lost: Davon House, Tramon Williams
NEW ENGLAND Lost: Akeem Ayers, Brandon Browner, Jonathan Casillas, Darrelle Revis, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Vince Wilfork
  Gained: Jabaal Sheard
PITTSBURGH Lost: Brice McCain
SAN DIEGO Lost: Andrew Gachkar, Marcus Gilchrist, Ryan Mathews, Eddie Royal
  Gained: Orlando Franklin, Patrick Robinson, Jimmy Wilson
SAN FRANCISCO Lost: Perrish Cox, Michael Crabtree, Chris Culliver, Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Dan Skuta
  Gained: Erik Pears, Torrey Smith
SEATTLE Lost: James Carpenter, Jeron Johnson, Byron Maxwell, O’Brien Schofield, Malcolm Smith
  Gained: Ahtyba Rubin


Below is the 2016 NFL Team compensatory total picks.  With the addition of 33 compensatory picks this year, fans and 13 NFL clubs are treated to a 8th round of the 2016 draft.


Dallas 4
New England 4
San Francisco 4
Baltimore 3
Cleveland 3
Denver 3
Seattle 3
Buffalo 2
Detroit 2
Green Bay 2
Arizona 1
Pittsburgh 1
San Diego 1


Listed below are the NFL club total summaries of compensatory draft picks dating back to 1994 through 2016


Baltimore 47
Dallas 37
Green Bay 37
New England 33
Los Angeles 31
Pittsburgh 31
Philadelphia 30
Tennessee 30
San Francisco 29
Buffalo 28
Seattle 27
Cincinnati 24
NY Giants 23
Detroit 21
Indianapolis 21
Jacksonville 19
Kansas City 19
San Diego 19
Arizona 18
Atlanta 18
Tampa Bay 18
Chicago 17
Miami 17
Minnesota 17
Oakland 17
Carolina 16
Denver 16
NY Jets 13
Houston 12
Washington 12
New Orleans 10
Cleveland 9