You might not have realized it, but today is a noteworthy day on the NFL calendar. May 9 marks the first day where free agent signings do not count against (or towards) a team’s compensatory pick formula.
With that in mind, Over The Cap released an updated compensatory pick projection since the formulas are virtually determined by now.
As it turns out, the Eagles are potentially projected to get one more comp pick than originally thought, thanks to some creative contract structuring from Howie Roseman. OTC’s Nick Korte has the explanation:
The other unusual case involves Mike Wallace, going from Baltimore to Philadelphia. As I mentioned above, the Eagles are a team that have been largely ignored in recent comp pick studies, but historically this is mistaken to do so. From 2004 to 2011, the Eagles got multiple comp picks in six of those eight drafts, and were second only to Baltimore in the most total comp picks awarded. Howie Roseman was a high level executive with the team during those times, and looking at how he’s crafted some of his CFA signings, there are signs that he just as determined as Ozzie Newsome, Bill Belichick, or John Elway in manipulating the comp pick system.
This brings us back to Wallace. Early reports had his Eagles’ deal as one year and “up to” $4 million. However, it was soon discovered that there was plenty of funny money in that deal. $2.o85 million of that $4 million are in Likely To Be Earned incentives, and among the most laughable was a $585,000 weight bonus to be earned by reporting to offseason workouts under 250 pounds. It’s laughable because Wallace, a wide receiver, has consistently played at a relatively svelte 200 pounds. But the comp pick formula shines insight on this unusual bonus, as it’s established that weight bonuses do not count. (See Terrance Knighton demoting a comp pick for Denver in 2016.)
But it doesn’t end there. Wallace’s $1 million signing bonus is actually an OATSB–Other Amount Treated As Signing Bonus. OTC also believes that this OATSB is a guaranteed workout bonus. Although it’s unclear how the comp pick formula will judge such a payment, it has been very consistent in not counting workout bonuses of any kind. Because there are many signs suggesting that the Eagles are manipulating the formula with Wallace’s contract, I’m therefore guessing that this $1 million will not count either. If that guess is correct, all that’s left to count is Wallace’s veteran minimum base salary of $915,000, and while he could still qualify if he plays enough snaps, currently that’s not enough to break the current qualification limit of $1 million.
The end result? If Wallace does not qualify, as I have it so right now, it opens up an additional 6th rounder to Philadelphia for Patrick Robinson, and it potentially costs Baltimore a 7th for Wallace.
So THAT explains why Wallace has a bizarre weight clause in his contract.
It’s interesting that we don’t see this tactic used more often. Maybe it’s just another case of Roseman playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of the league plays checkers.
If the Eagles do end up receiving a compensatory pick for Robinson, that’ll give the Eagles a total of 11 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. That’s some real nice ammo to help Philadelphia replenish their roster with young, inexpensive talent.
Eagles 2019 NFL Draft picks
2nd (from Baltimore Ravens)
4th (projected compensatory pick)
6th (projected compensatory pick)
6th (projected compensatory pick)