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2025 NFL Draft: Compensatory pick projections for every team

It has become obvious over the last few years that in many cases, teams are beginning to factor compensatory picks in the next season's draft into the roster-building process. Teams will make mid-year additions or sign players to one-year deals, understanding that it could turn into a future compensatory pick. Pay them now and receive a bonus pick later.

So, how do compensatory picks work?

The number of compensatory picks allotted each year is limited to the number of teams in the league (32), per the collective bargaining agreement. However, compensatory picks are not divided up equally among the teams, and no team can receive more than four compensatory picks in a single year. To qualify for compensatory picks, teams must end up with more qualifying free agents lost than gained in a particular year.

Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks between Rounds 3 and 7 of the draft based upon a league formula that takes into account a player's average salary per year (APY), snap count and postseason awards. While there is an expected level of compensation for a player based on the amount he has signed for, his playing time (or lack thereof) in the upcoming season could alter the expectation.

In November of 2020, the NFL announced it would award two third-round selections (one each in consecutive years) to any team that had a minority coach or executive hired as head coach or general manager by another NFL club (teams that lost employees to a head coach and general manager position would receive three). Those selections come at the back end of the compensatory picks awarded in the third round. In 2025, San Francisco will receive the last of three picks for having DeMeco Ryans (Texans head coach) and Ran Carthon (Titans GM) hired in 2023, and the Los Angeles Rams will receive the second of two picks for having Raheem Morris (Falcons head coach) hired away this year.

The compensatory picks for the 2025 NFL Draft won't be determined by the NFL Management Council's formula until after the 2024 season is over, but in this post, I'll attempt to project who will be receiving compensatory picks next year and the round in which those picks could fall.

Keep in mind: Players need to have been signed as unrestricted free agents before April 29 to qualify for the compensatory-pick formula. Players who were released by their previous team are not eligible for the formula, so they're not included in the key additions here. Note also that players are presented in order of descending APY, according to Over the Cap.


Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 4; one in Round 5; two in Round 6.

Key free-agent losses: Patrick Queen (Steelers), Jadeveon Clowney (Panthers), Geno Stone (Bengals), John Simpson (Jets), Kevin Zeitler (Lions), Devin Duvernay (Jaguars), Gus Edwards (Chargers).

Key free-agent addition: Derrick Henry.

It is a rare year that the Ravens aren't adding to their draft capital with at least one compensatory pick. In 2025, they'll load up with the maximum of four selections after losing key members of the roster in 2024, including Queen, Clowney and both starting guards (Zeitler and Simpson). In total, Baltimore said goodbye to a whopping seven qualifying free agents while only signing Henry as a qualifier. Henry's modest salary canceled out one of their sixth-round qualifiers (Stone or Zeitler).

Projected compensatory picks: Three in Round 5; one in Round 6.

Key free-agent losses: Dorance Armstrong (Commanders), Tyler Biadasz (Commanders), Tony Pollard (Titans), Tyron Smith (Jets), Dante Fowler Jr. (Commanders).

Key free-agent additions: None. 

Shout-out to the Cowboys, who have leaned heavily into the compensatory-picks game. Dating back to 2021, the Cowboys have added a minimum of two compensatory picks per year, and that trend will extend in 2025, with Dallas almost guaranteed to hit the limit of four additional picks after losing five qualifying players and (notoriously) signing none this offseason. 


Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 5; two in Round 6. 

Key free-agent losses: Kenneth Murray (Titans), Gerald Everett (Bears), Austin Ekeler (Commanders), Austin Johnson (Bills), Michael Davis (Commanders).

Key free-agent additions: Gus Edwards, Kristian Fulton.

Based upon the "average per year" totals for the qualifying losses against the qualifying signees, we likely will see the Chargers grab a fifth-round pick and two sixth-rounders as compensation for their top three free-agent losses. The signings of Fulton and Edwards cancel out the losses of Davis and Johnson.

Projected compensatory picks: Two in Round 3; one in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Christian Wilkins (Raiders), Robert Hunt (Panthers), Andrew Van Ginkel (Vikings), Raekwon Davis (Colts), Brandon Jones (Broncos), DeShon Elliott (Steelers).

Key free-agent additions: Jordyn Brooks, Kendall Fuller, Aaron Brewer.

This will be the first time since 2020 that the Dolphins have been in position to add compensatory picks. The losses of Wilkins and Hunt will net Miami two very valuable third-round selections. The losses of Van Ginkel, Davis and Jones will be canceled out by the additions of Brooks, Brewer and Fuller, leaving a likely seventh-round compensatory pick for the loss of Elliott.

Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 3; one in Round 5; one in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Chase Young (Saints), Sam Darnold (Vikings), Javon Kinlaw (Jets), Charlie Woerner (Falcons), Sebastian Joseph-Day (Titans), Clelin Ferrell (Commanders).

Key free-agent additions: Leonard Floyd, Yetur Gross-Matos, Isaac Yiadom, Jordan Elliott.

The 49ers have absolutely feasted upon compensatory picks, racking up 17 over the past three seasons, including six third-rounders tied directly to minority head coaching and general manager candidates who were hired from their staff. This year, the 49ers will receive their final third-round compensatory pick from the Ran Carthon-DeMeco Ryans hirings in 2023. San Francisco lost six qualifying players and signed four qualifiers, creating two potential compensatory picks to go with that third-rounder. 


Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 4; one in Round 5.

Key free-agent losses: Gabe Davis (Jaguars), Leonard Floyd (49ers), Tyrel Dodson (Seahawks), Dane Jackson (Panthers).

Key free-agent additions: Curtis Samuel, Austin Johnson.

Very easy projections here; the Bill lose four qualifying free agents and sign two. The deals for both Davis (from the Jags) and Floyd (from the 49ers) are substantially higher in APY than those given to qualifying free agents by the Bills; Samuel and Johnson end up canceling out the deals signed by Dodson and Jackson. It's worth noting that there is an outside shot the departure of Tim Settle could bring another seventh-round selection if he takes on a larger than expected role with the Texans.

Projected compensatory picks: Two in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Joe Flacco (Colts), Jordan Elliott (49ers), Sione Takitaki (Patriots), Harrison Bryant (Raiders).

Key free-agent additions: Jordan Hicks, Quinton Jefferson.

Before his memorable run with Cleveland in 2023, I'm not sure anyone could have envisioned a scenario where the Browns would sign Flacco and land a seventh-round compensatory pick after losing him in free agency, but here we are. The additions of Hicks and Jefferson will wash out the top two losses sustained by the Browns, leaving Cleveland with the potential for a pair of seventh-round compensatory picks.

Projected compensatory pick: Two in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Nick Allegretti (Commanders), Willie Gay Jr. (Saints), Tommy Townsend (Texans), Mike Edwards (Bills).

Key free-agent additions: Marquise Brown, Carson Wentz.

This one could be close for the Chiefs. Gay should bring in a seventh-round pick if he maintains a starting role with the Saints. Kansas City could see a second seventh-rounder if Edwards takes on a prominent role in Buffalo.

Projected compensatory picks: Two in Round 6.

Key free-agent losses: Josh Jacobs (Packers), Jermaine Eluemunor (Giants), Bilal Nichols (Cardinals), Amik Robertson (Lions), Austin Hooper (Patriots).

Key free-agent additions: Christian Wilkins, Gardner Minshew, Harrison Bryant.

The losses of Jacobs and Nichols end up being canceled out by the additions of Wilkins and Minshew as qualifying free agents, while Bryant’s contract cancels the loss of Hooper. That figures to leave the Raiders with two sixth-round selections based on the compensatory pick formula.

Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 4; one in Round 5. 

Key free-agent losses: Damien Lewis (Panthers), Jordyn Brooks (Dolphins), Colby Parkinson (Rams), Bobby Wagner (Commanders), Drew Lock (Giants).

Key free-agent additions: George Fant, Tyrel Dodson, Pharaoh Brown.

Every departing qualifying player did land a higher APY deal than the qualifying free agents signed by Seattle; however, the three additions cancel out the bottom three losses (Parkinson, Wagner and Lock) based upon the player-for-player methodology. Therefore, Seattle is left with compensation for Lewis and Brooks in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.


Projected compensatory pick: One in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Jon Runyan Jr. (Giants), Darnell Savage Jr. (Jaguars), Yosh Nijman (Panthers).

Key free-agent additions: Xavier McKinney, Josh Jacobs.

Though the Packers added much more impactful players in free agency than they lost, the cancellation formula still works in their favor, allowing for a potential seventh-round selection tied to the loss of Nijman after the contracts of Runyan and Savage are cancelled out by the signings of Jacobs and McKinney.

Projected compensatory pick: One in Round 3.

The Rams will receive a third-round compensatory pick, thanks to the 2024 hiring of former defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as Atlanta Falcons head coach. This will be the second of the two picks going to L.A. because of Morris' hiring.

Projected compensatory pick: One in Round 3.

Key losses: Kirk Cousins (Falcons), Danielle Hunter (Texans), Marcus Davenport (Lions), D.J. Wonnum (Panthers), Jordan Hicks (Browns), K.J. Osborn (Patriots).

Key free-agent additions: Jonathan Greenard, Sam Darnold, Andrew Van Ginkel, Blake Cashman, Shaquill Griffin.

The Vikings are likely to receive their first third-round compensatory pick since 2020, when they received one for the departure of Sheldon Richardson. The Vikings signed five but lost six, with Cousins' contract left as the unmatched deal. 

Projected compensatory pick: One in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Zack Baun (Eagles), Malcolm Roach (Broncos), Isaac Yiadom (49ers).

Key free-agent additions: Chase Young, Willie Gay Jr.

The Saints are likely to land a seventh-round pick after losing three qualifying free agents and signing two. Keep in mind that if Young has a strong year and leaves in free agency for a big contract, it could net the Saints a potential third- or fourth-round pick the following year, depending upon the amount of players signed and the terms of their contracts.

Projected compensatory pick: One in Round 4.

Key free-agent losses: Xavier McKinney (Packers), Saquon Barkley (Eagles), A'Shawn Robinson (Panthers), Tyrod Taylor (Jets), Ben Bredeson (Buccaneers).

Key free-agent additions: Jon Runyan Jr., Devin Singletary, Drew Lock, Jermaine Eluemunor.

McKinney should qualify the Giants for a fourth-round pick, while the other four losses are canceled out by comparable free-agent signings.

Teams not projected to receive any compensatory picks: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Commanders.

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