A total of 32 compensatory draft picks were awarded to 15 teams this year, the National Football League announced, and the Atlanta Falcons were among that number.
This offseason, the Falcons were among the lucky few to earn two of those selections, including an extra fourth round pick and another fifth round selection.
But it looks like they won’t be nearly as lucky when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.
That is, according to NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein, who has projected that the Falcons will not receive any compensatory draft picks next offseason.
That would seem unusual given the quality players the Falcons lost this offseason, after electing to cut veteran place kicker Matt Bryant, cornerback Robert Alford, left guard Andy Levitre, right guard Brandon Fusco, right tackle Ryan Schraeder, and defensive end Brooks Reed.
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The compensatory picks are customarily positioned within the third through the seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents that are lost by teams.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula developed by the NFL Management Council and is based on salary, playing time, and postseason honors.
Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula, and no club can receive more than four compensatory picks in any given year. If a team qualifies for more than four compensatory picks after offsetting each compensatory free agent lost by each compensatory free agent gained of an equal or greater value, then the four highest remaining selections will be awarded to the team.
Last offseason, the NFL determined that the four players lost by the Falcons, including defensive end Adrian Clayborn, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, and specialist Andre Roberts were of greater value than the two free agents the team gained, right guard Brandon Fusco and tight end Logan Paulsen.
Thanks to those transactions, the Falcons got two chances to add more players in the 2019 NFL Draft, bringing their total number of selections to seven.
As to which teams are projected to receive compensatory draft picks next year, it looks like the rich will get richer. The defending world champion New England Patriots could be in line to lead the NFL with four selections, tied with the Seattle Seahawks, and followed by the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, with three each.
Elsewhere in the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also not projected to receive any compensatory picks.
The NFL typically awards official compensatory selections in late February.