Remaining Cowboys Free Agents And Compensatory Pick Chances in 2015

Troy Babbitt-US PRESSWIRE

The Cowboys received three compensatory picks in 2014. As they've taken it slow in free agency this year, is there a chance they could get some comp picks in 2015 as well?

The free agency headlines for the Cowboys this year were dominated by the release of DeMarcus Ware, the loss of Jason Hatcher to the Redskins, and the signing of Henry Melton.

But there were more moves that did not garner quite that level of attention: The Cowboys added three additional free agents in DE Jeremy Mincey, DT Terrell McClain and QB Brandon Weeden, who joined the Cowboys for the vet minimum. They also cut Phil Costa, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and Danny McCray re-joined his former special teams coach Joe DeCamillis in Chicago.

But what about the remaining Cowboys free agents? Here's a look at the Cowboys free agents heading into 2014 and their current status:

Name Pos Status 2014 Team Comp. Pick eligible?
Jason Hatcher DT signed WAS Yes
Danny McCray S signed CHI No
DeMarcus Ware DE cut DEN No
Phil Costa C cut IND No
Corvey Irvin DT cut DET No
Miles Austin WR cut - - No
Everette Brown DE cut - - No
Phillip Tanner RB RFA - - No
Brian Waters G UFA - - tbd
Ryan Cook C UFA - - tbd
Jon Kitna QB UFA - - tbd
Anthony Spencer DE UFA - - tbd
Edgar Jones DE UFA - - tbd
Jarius Wynn DE UFA - - tbd
Ernie Sims LB UFA - - tbd

As we look toward 2015, with just four free agents signed and up to 15 players leaving the team, you'd expect the Cowboys to receive a lot of compensatory picks for their losses. But the compensatory pick formula doesn't work quite that way.

The number of comp picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four per team. Importantly, not every free agent lost or acquired automatically qualifies as a compensatory free agent.

Players who do not qualify as compensatory free agents: players who have been cut (i.e. Ware, Austin, Costa, Irvin, Brown), restricted or exclusive rights free agents that were not tendered (i.e. Philip Tanner), players whose contract value is below about $1 million per year (i.e. Danny McCray or Brandon Weeden) and players signed after June 1 won’t impact the number of comp picks for their former or new team. With that out of the way, let's look at where the Cowboys stand.

URFAs lost
Player POS New Team Years Contract Value Annual value
Jason Hatcher
DT Washington 4 $27,500,000 $6,875,000
Danny McCray S Chicago 1 $790,938 $790,938
URFAs signed
Player POS Old Team Years Contract Value Annual value
Henry Melton DT
Chicago 1 $3,500,000 $3,500,000
Jeremy Mincey DE
Denver 2 $3,000,000 $1,500,000
Terrell McClain
DT
Houston 3 $3,050,000 $1,016,667
Brandon Weeden
QB
Cleveland 2 $1,230,000 $615,000

McCray and Weeden don't make enough to count as compensatory free agents, which leaves the Cowboys with three URFAs signed versus just one lost. Here's a look at the remaining players who could qualify as compensatory free agents if they sign a contract worth at least $1 million per year before June 1:

  • Brian Waters: Still hasn't had the triceps surgery he'd need to play in 2014. His well-documented aversion to training camps means he won't sign any type of contract before June 1, if at all.
  • Anthony Spencer: The Giants and Redskins showed some interest, but nobody is signing Spencer without some reassurance about his knee. No contract before June 1.
  • Jon Kitna: Retired, and this time for good.
  • Ryan Cook: Given his health status, highly unlikely to sign anywhere before June 1, and probably not for $1 million either.
  • Ernie Sims: Hard to imagine much of a demand for Sims, and certainly not for anything exceeding the vet minimum.
  • Edgar Jones: He might sign up for training camp somewhere, but probably won't see more than the vet minimum.
  • Jarius Wynn: The Cowboys said they'd allow Wynn to test the free-agent market. There's a possibility the Cowboys could bring him back for the vet minimum if no other team shows interest.

To get at least one comp pick in 2015, three players from the list above would have to meet the criteria for a compensatory free agent. To put it bluntly: that isn't happening.

The Cowboys will not get any comp picks in the 2015 NFL draft.

All the more reason to make sure they get the most out of the ones they have this year.

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