I have noticed some confusion around here about what type and how many compensation picks the Texans will get in next years draft. As the self-proclaimed compensation pick expert around here, I thought I would try my best to clear up this confusion. Like last time, I will again reference AdamJT13's blog, since he has done a ton of work deconstructing the formula used for compensatory picks. Unfortunately, he hasn't updated his blog with compensatory pick info since 2010, so some of his numbers will be slightly outdated. It also means that none of this is updated for the new CBA. As far as I know, no changes were made to compensatory draft picks in the new CBA, but that might not be true. So, with the disclaimers out of the way, let's get this show on the road.
Here's the scoop, straight from AdamJT13:
[In 2009], regardless of playing time or postseason honors, the third-round comp players had signed for at least $6.5 million per season, the fourth-round comp players had signed for $4.8 million to $6 million, all but one of the fifth-round comp players had signed for $4 million to $5 million, the sixth-round comp players had signed for $2.7 million to $3.9 million, and the seventh-round comp players had signed for less than $2.65 million per season. Note that there are huge gaps between some rounds, and that there is an overlap between the fourth and fifth rounds because of the adjustments for playing time.
Basically, what he is saying is that the picks that are given out are based almost entirely on the contract signed by the player while playing time and performance only have a small impact. Because of this it is possible to accurately project the picks before the season has been played (which is good, because otherwise this would be a complete waste of time for both of us). Let's look at each player that has left the Texans this offseason and what kind of contract they signed. (Note that this only applies to players whose contract expired and not players who were cut from the team.)
Mario Williams- Signed a 6 year, $96 million contract with Buffalo
As many expected, the Texans will almost certainly get a third round pick for Mario. This is so far over the contract size needed to get a third round pick that it is practically guaranteed, even if Mario spends the year on IR.
Jason Allen - Signed a 2 year $8.2 million contract with Cincinnati
Now we get to the ones that aren't quite as clear. This contract technically fits into the salary range of a 5th round pick. However, three years of salary inflation and the fact that Jason Allen probably won't start for the Bengals means that it will probably end up being a 6th round pick instead.
Mike Brisiel- Signed a 5 year $20 million contract with Oakland
Mike Brisiel and Jason Allen are right next to each other in contract value, but Brisiel is practically guaranteed to start. Of course, he probably won't start all 16 games, but it's unlikely a couple missed starts will affect the pick. This is another pick on the border between a fifth and sixth rounder, but in the end I think it will end up being another 6th rounder because, once again, the salary range for a 5th round pick has almost certainly gone up since 2009.
Joel Dreessen - Signed a 3 year $8.5 million contract with Denver
Dreessen contract is right on the edge of the 6th and 7th round salaries. It's technically in the range of a 6th rounder, but that's using the numbers from 2009 which have surely gone up since then. He also probably won't start, as the Broncos also signed Jacob Tamme to be Manning's target at tight end. Thus, just like with Jason Allen and Brisiel, I'm going to be somewhat pessimistic and assume we get a 7th rounder for Dreessen.
Neil Rackers - Signed a 1 year $990k contract with Washington
It's possible that this signing will net the Texans a 7th round compensation pick, but don't get your hopes up. This contract is only barely above the minimum for a player who has been in the league as long as Rackers has, but players who have signed for less than a million per season have brought compensation picks before. Still, it's rare, and it will probably happen with even less frequency now, if at all.
Just to be thorough:
Bradie James and Donnie Jones- Signed 1 year $890k contracts with Houston
As far as I can tell the veteran minimum for these guys should be around $820k, so they didn't sign for exactly the minimum. However, if Neil Rackers probably isn't getting us a pick then there's no way in hell either of these guys are going to cancel out any of the picks we are getting.
There you have it. To sum up, a realistic projection for all the compensatory picks the Texans will get in the 2013 NFL draft is that they will get a 3rd, two 6ths, and a 7th round pick. A very optimistic projection that is still realistic would be a 3rd, two 5ths, and a 6th. It's always possible that something odd happens and we get something unexpected, and it's also possible, though highly unlikely, that one of these players is cut before the start of the season and doesn't end up counting at all.
TL;DR The Texans get a 3rd, two 6ths, and a 7th.