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Buffalo Bills shouldn’t expect any compensatory picks this year

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A weak free agency period in 2016 did the team no favors in the annual draft-pick awarding process.

The Buffalo Bills are not expected to receive any compensatory picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Compensatory picks, which are awarded to teams on a formula that examines the difference between free agents gained and free agents lost, have never been a strong suit of Buffalo’s front office. The decisions made during the 2016 offseason continued to play a role in preventing these bonus picks from going Buffalo’s way.

Notable gains

Reggie Bush

In August, with Karlos Williams having been suspended, the Bills decided to add a new name to their busy backfield. They signed Bush to a one year, $3 million contract. With Bush rushing for -3 yards on the season, the team paid him $1 million for each yard he didn’t gain.

Zach Brown

The Bills signed Brown to a one year, $1.25 million contract, expecting him to be a backup. Reggie Ragland’s injury pressed him into the starting lineup. He had a strong season at linebacker, being nominated a Pro Bowl alternate and getting some accolades towards an All-Pro selection.

Fernando Velasco

The Bills signed Velasco to a one year, $960,000 contract to be their backup center. He had a poor preseason and was released to keep Ryan Groy and Patrick Lewis on the roster.

Lorenzo Alexander

Alexander signed an $885,000 veteran minimum contract with the Bills this offseason. After exploding for 12.5 sacks, a Pro Bowl selection, and second-team All-Pro nod, he will count for much more than his salary in calculating Buffalo’s compensatory pick availability.

Corey White

White signed a veteran minimum contract and played the whole season with Buffalo as a reserve defensive back. A player who followed Rob Ryan around for most of his career, he probably won’t return to the team next season.

Sterling Moore

Moore, signed to a veteran minimum contract, was seen as potential roster depth at cornerback. He didn’t survive the preseason, being released in the final roster cuts.

Robert Blanton

Blanton signed a veteran minimum contract with the Bills after finishing his rookie contract with the Vikings. He played a mostly mediocre season and went onto injured reserve for the last month of the season.

Colt Anderson

A special teams ace, Anderson was signed with the veteran minimum to assist Buffalo’s coverage teams. Foot and hand injuries had him barely seeing the field this year.

Notable losses

Mario Williams*

While the former star edge rusher moved on to the Miami Dolphins this year, because he was cut by Buffalo, he doesn’t count as a loss in the compensatory pick formula.

Leodis McKelvin*

McKelvin was another veteran cut by Buffalo, so the two year, $6.2 million contract he signed doesn’t factor into Buffalo’s formula.

Chris Hogan*

The Bills tendered Hogan a restricted free agent contract. While Hogan signed a bigger contract with the Patriots, the Bills had the chance to match his deal and they didn’t, which makes him ineligible for this list.

Ron Brooks

Buffalo’s former backup cornerback signed a three year, $5.5 million contract with the Eagles this year.

Nigel Bradham

The linebacker signed a two year, $7 million contract with the Eagles this offseason, and he’s still on their team despite a host of off-field incidents this year.

Summing it up

The Bills signed a large number of free agents, while barely losing any of their own. While most of them were for veteran minimum deals, the Brown and Alexander contracts, combined with playing time for White, should be more than enough to equal the losses of Brooks and Bradham. This year the Bills have an NFL-high 24 free agents, making it very likely that some picks could come their way next offseason - unless the Bills sign more veterans to replace the outgoing names instead of using draft picks to fill the roster. Until Doug Whaley starts trading back and accumulating picks instead of trading up for names, the Bills will constantly be falling behind in this replacement cycle.