Last week, the Buffalo Bills were awarded two compensatory picks in the 2016 NFL Draft due to a net loss in unrestricted free agents during the 2016 offseason. How are their compensatory efforts shaping up for the 2017 NFL Draft? Let's update what we discussed last week.
As a quick reminder: only the gains and losses of scheduled unrestricted free agents count in the NFL's compensatory pick formula. Players released, either by the Bills or by another team that the Bills sign, don't count. Nor do non-tendered restricted free agents, again both ways. It's a lot to keep track of, but also fairly straightforward.
Running through the list of Bills additions and subtractions so far this offseason, we'll bold the signings that affect the compensatory pick formula for the Bills. Out of a list of nine moves, only two are relevant to the formula.
- TE Jim Dray (CLE - released)
- RB Boobie Dixon (released)
- WR Chris Hogan (NE - RFA)
- OG Kraig Urbik (released)
- DE Mario Williams (MIA - released)
- DL Stefan Charles (DET - RFA)
- LB Nigel Bradham (PHI)
- CB Leodis McKelvin (PHI - released)
- CB Ron Brooks (PHI)
In short: even though a lot more has happened, the Bills are exactly where they were a week ago regarding 2017 compensatory picks. Bradham and Brooks count for the Bills, and they haven't signed anyone who counts against them.
It's also worth noting that the Bills appear to be deliberately targeting free agents that won't prevent them from collecting compensatory picks next offseason: not only does yesterday's signing of Dray not count in the formula, but all four of their other disclosed visitors this offseason - running back Joique Bell (released by Detroit), wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (released by New York), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (non-tendered RFA), and guard Jahri Evans (released by New Orleans) - would not count against the compensatory pick formula, either.
Of the Bills' 10 remaining unsigned free agents, only four - quarterback Josh Johnson, receiver Percy Harvin, receiver Leonard Hankerson, and defensive lineman Alex Carrington - would count as compensatory free agent losses for Buffalo. The possibility exists, however, that Harvin doesn't actually count, given that his three-year deal was voided down to one, which created his unrestricted free agency.
Losing running back Cierre Wood, tight end MarQueis Gray, tackle Jordan Mills, defensive lineman Corbin Bryant, linebacker Ty Powell, or safety Bacarri Rambo to another team would not count as compensatory free agent losses.