With wide receiver James Jones and fullback John Kuhn re-signing with the Packers today, the free agent frenzy has died down, at least in Green Bay.
The Packers lost five free agents over the course of the past week: defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, guard Daryn Colledge, running back Brandon Jackson, offensive lineman Jason Spitz and fullback Korey Hall.
Even though some of those losses are significant, the Packers figure to gain as many as four draft choices as compensation for free agent losses in 2012, just as I suspected they would back in February.
I know the NFL will continue to award compensatory draft choices as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, although I do not know if the formula has changed.
Although the NFL has never made their formula public, under the old system, teams were awarded draft choices for significant free agency losses based primarily upon the size of the contract, although the playing time and postseason awards they receive also seem to factor in to a lesser extent. The better Jenkins, Colledge, Jackson, Spitz and Hall play in 2010, the better chance of the Packers getting a higher draft choice.
In recent history, the Packers received an extra fourth-round draft choice for losing Aaron Kampman to the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and a fifth-rounder for losing Colin Cole to the Seattle Seahawks in 2010.
In the past, teams could receive a maximum of four compensatory draft choices, and the Packers would seem to be a good bet to receive this upcoming season.
Guessing the round of compensation is an inexact science, but based upon prior picks awarded, I will try to make my best guesses as to who the Packers will receive, give or take a round:
- Daryn Colledge, five-year, $27.5 million: Fifth round
- Cullen Jenkins, five-year, $25 million: Fifth round
- Brandon Jackson, two-year, $4.5 million: Seventh round
- Jason Spitz and Korey Hall, unknown details: Seventh round
Should Atari Bigby, Matt Wilhelm or Anthony Smith sign with another team, the chances only become greater that the Packers will receive the full complement of four draft choices.
Compensatory draft choices are only awarded for free agent losses. If the Packers happen to sign a veteran free agent, it has the frequently has the effect of cancelling out one of the losses.
The Packers might have a need for depth at inside linebacker right now, but if they sign a free agent that figures into the compensatory equation, it’s possible they might lose out on one of those draft choices.
However, keep in mind that players who are salary cap casualties do not count. Thus, the Packers will not get any compensation if Nick Barnett, Mark Tauscher, Brady Poppinga or Brandon Chillar sign somewhere else.
On the other hand, if the Packers were to sign a player like Seattle’s Lofa Tatupu, who was likewise a salary cap release, he would not cancel out the Packers’ free agent losses.