Now that the deadline has passed for transactions that will affect a team’s compensatory picks in 2019, NFL analysts have started to project which teams will earn extra picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. One of the most reliable prognosticators is Over The Cap’s Nick Korte, who consistently updates projected draft compensation all year.
On Tuesday, Korte posted his “final” compensatory pick predictions, and there’s a some good news for the Detroit Lions. While earlier in the week, it looked like the Lions were set up to earn a sixth-round pick, the latest calculations now project it to be a fifth-round pick, thanks to the loss of cornerback D.J. Hayden, who signed a hefty three-year, $19 million contract with the Jaguars. Here are all of the moves that currently affect their compensatory pick payout:
- LeGarrette Blount
- Devon Kennard
- Christian Jones
- Kenny Wiggins
- Luke Willson
- D.J. Hayden
- Tahir Whitehead
- Darren Fells
- Travis Swanson
- Haloti Ngata
- Don Carey
Although the Lions can now pick up any free agents without affecting their compensatory pick payout, there are still moves that may be made that could affect their payout going forward. Korte does a good job of breaking down those moves in his latest update. Here’s a brief summary.
Wiggins suddenly became much more expendable after the Lions’ drafted Frank Ragnow in the first round of the draft. If the Lions decide to cut Wiggins, Korte says the Lions have the potential to pick up another fifth-round compensatory pick. Korte also notes that it wouldn’t cost the Lions all that much in dead money to cut Wiggins, considering he only has $750,000 in guarantees in his two-year, $5 million contract.
Don Carey and Travis Swanson
The Lions lost both Carey and Swanson to free agency, but if either of those players fail to make their new squads, the Lions would lose their currently projected fifth-round pick.
For Swanson, there’s certainly a possibility he won’t stick around with the Jets. New York signed Spencer Long to be their starting center, and Swanson’s one-year, $1.55 million contract has just $350,000 in guarantees. Still, Swanson provides valuable depth for New York.
Don Carey signed a two-year, $2.495 million deal with the Jaguars, and seems like an unlikely cut, even if his value is mostly on special teams right now. He does have a minimal dead money figure of $350,000 in 2018, but cutting Carey wouldn’t even save the Jaguars $1 million. Ultimately, Carey could still be cut just because he’s not valuable enough.
So, overall, things are currently lined up pretty well for the Lions to receive their first draft pick compensation since 2016. Things could drastically change this fall, but for now, at least one fifth-round pick looks likely.