On Mike Jenkins and compensatory picks

Last season, the Rams traded a 6th round pick (that could become a 5) for Brandon Lloyd. At the time, Lloyd was in the last year of his deal, and there was a very good possibility that he was going to walk in free agency following the season. The trade was lauded by NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, who noted that at the end of the season, Lloyd was likely to get a huge deal somewhere and the Rams would be awarded a 3rd round compensatory pick in return.

Lombardi’s thinking, however, ignored one very important detail on how compensatory picks are awarded. In terms of being awarded picks for losing players, for every player you sign in free agency, that cancels out a player lost. Lloyd did indeed wind up signing a decent deal with the Patriots (3 years, $12 million), but the Rams also signed a large number of free agents that will cancel out the players they lost:

  • Cortland Finnegan: 5 years, $50 million
  • Kendall Langford: 4 years, $24 million
  • Scott Wells: 4 years, $24 million
  • Steve Smith: 1 year, $2.5 million
  • Jo-Lonn Dunbar: 2 years, $3.05 million

As a result, the Rams are highly unlikely to be awarded any compensatory picks next season.

Mike Jenkins is in a similar situation in Dallas. As we all know, Jenkins has one year left on his deal, and is unhappy that he has essentially gone from the best CB on the team to 4th in the pecking order in one offseason. There has been recent debate on whether or not the Cowboys should trade him, and there’s a thinking that if the Cowboys simply hold onto him and then lose him in free agency, they’ll be awarded a high compensatory pick.  A number of Cowboys writers are falling into the same trap as Lombardi.

The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore:

The difficulty in trading Jenkins is that every other team knows it. The Cowboys are not dealing from a position of strength. At the moment, it makes more sense for the club to hold onto Jenkins as insurance and recoup part of his value at the end of the season through a compensatory pick.

ESPN’s Tim McMahon:

The Cowboys could probably get a late-round pick for Jenkins, like the seventh-rounder the Falcons sent the Eagles for Asante Samuel. Why take that when the Cowboys will likely get a mid-round compensatory pick after Jenkins signs elsewhere in free agency?

The Landry Hat:

The Cowboys will not trade Jenkins unless the price is right. Anything less than a 2nd rounder might not bode well, especially considering Jenkins is still young, and only counts approximately $1million against the cap this year.  At the very worst, when Jenkins leaves in free agency next year, the Cowboys will be awarded a 4th round compensatory selection.

If the Cowboys hang onto Jenkins for the 2012 season and then lose him to free agency, all of the above writers are sending the message that a compensatory pick is pretty much a sure thing, but that’s not the reality.  The reality is that they might receive a compensatory pick in 2014… but only if they lose more players than they sign.

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  1. […] it out at:  On Mike Jenkins and compensatory picks – Blogging the bEast  May 30, 2012  Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012 Mike Jenkins compensatory […]

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  3. […] we looked at the Mike Jenkins situatui0n and how losing him in free agency next season is no guarantee of a compensatory pick.  That got me wondering which NFC East teams are in line to pick up extra compensatory picks in […]

  4. maknav says:

    The argument sounds like…

    Lombardi says that you can earn money by working. Lombardi’s thinking, however, ignored one very important detail on how money is awarded.

    If you spend at the same time, you will not earn money. It depends on how much you spend and how much you earn.

    It seems to me that a real question is which is bigger:
    (1) what the Cowboys get by trading him next year + insurance value of keeping him (minus salary).
    (2) what the Cowboys get by trading him this year.
    (3) what the Cowboys expect to be awarded as a compensatory pick if they lose him via FA next year.

  5. ProtoTyler says:

    I know he may technically be the “4th option” but there is no guarantee that Claiborne will be ready to start, even though most (myself included) think he will be. There is also no reason to think that one of Carr/Claiborne/Scandrick won’t be dinged at some point. Jenkins is cheap talent. There is no reason to deal him when looking at the long view. Jenkins as a cheap, quality spot starter/insurance for outside and slot in ’12 plus a possible 4th-7th rd pick in 14. Or a 2nd/3rd rder in ’13? Its a no brainer.

    If he wants to act up, deactivate him. See how that effects his value next offseason. He’ll fall in line. It might not be willingly, but he’ll do it.

  6. ICDogg says:

    Yep. Exactly right.

    1. Mike says:

      Actually, no. Not exactly right.

      Depending on the quality of the Free Agent that you sign to replace, you can still receive a compensatory pick, but it’s limited to only being a seventh round pick. 3 clubs this year picked up compensatory picks despite signing the same number of FAs that they lost, because the FAs that they signed were determined to be significantly lower value than what they lost.

      The formula is very complex, so there’s really no way of knowing what pick the Cowboys would receive before we see who they sign to replace him, how much Jenkins signs for, how much the Cowboys sign the replacement player for, and how much

      1. Mike says:

        Sorry, that last part is supposed to be “how much and how well they both play”.

      2. That’s correct. Buffalo, San Diego, and I think Atlanta got 7’s for “net value” losses.

        Those picks are at the very end of the awarded 7th round compensatory picks, just before the ones that get awarded to the worst teams just so they can get to 32.

        But we’re basically talking about a small step up from undradted free agents there.

        1. Mike says:

          Very true, but exactly how much more would you be getting if you traded Mike Jenkins for a 5th or 6th rounder? Would that be worth as much as a seventh rounder and getting to keep Jenkins as depth insurance, at the very least, this year?

          And unlike undrafted FA, you can still use that 7th rounder to manuever around, potentially.

          This is all also assuming that the Cowboys signed a FA to replace Jenkins.

          If the Cowboys can get a second or third rounder, I’d trade him. But a 5th rounder does nothing to help them this year, and really doesn’t do much to help them next year, probably. So the Cowboys would be dumb to get the same kind of value for him as the Eagles got for Asante Samuel, just to get him off the roster.

          1. For the record, I’m not saying they should trade him for a low pick. I’m just saying that automatically expecting a comp pick in return is not entirely accurate.

            1. DerfDiggy says:

              This is pretty simple…compare it to Asante Samuel’s situation. Keep him for depth purposes or trade him for a 7th? Eagles missed the opportunity to actually get a significant haul for Samuel last offseason…so they sat on him for a year and thus…only a 7th.

              I’m by no means comparing Jenkins to Samuel….Samuel > Jenkins….but that’s exactly why the Cowboys should keep him for depth instead of trading him for a late round pick. Unless Indy or some other team is willing to come off a 3rd or higher for Jenkins, I don’t see it being worth moving him. So while a compensatory pick isn’t guaranteed….a year of depth + the possibility of a compensatory >>>> Trading him for a late round pick.

              I’m sure there will be replies that he’ll be “disgruntled”, and “affect the locker room”. To which I disagree…This isn’t a TO situation. He hasn’t done anything but miss optional OTA’s and express his desire to be traded(through his agent). It’s still his contract year, and he’d be doing himself a GREAT disservice by pouting.

              1. DerfDiggy says:

                I just read Mike’s comment…and realize I just rehashed what he posted.

                Poor form Derf…Poor form.

            2. Mike says:

              I don’t think it’s automatic, but I do think there’s a very good chance that the Cowboys get a compensatory pick of some kind if he leaves.

          2. gherbox says:

            They cannot use that 7th rounder to manuever around. compensatory picks must be used by the team awarded them.

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