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Changes To Trading Compensatory Picks, Tampering Rules Approved

Ian Rapaport has the screenshots of both changes:

I’ve already commented on the ramifications of allowing compensatory picks to be traded, so I have no more to add on that change itself.  However, in the press release, I noticed a phrase that could potentially be huge in finally determining the biggest mystery of decoding the compensatory picks.  That phrase is “ranked against all players in the League who are on rosters at the end of the season”.  I will have to investigate it further, but that provision could be the key in determining the cutoff levels for each round and whether or not a player qualifies (or, as the press release puts it, becomes a “Compensatory Free Agent”).  For us Broncos fans, that’s a big deal for 2016, as we’ve been agonizing for quite some time on whether or not Julius Thomas will earn the Broncos a 3rd or 4th round comp pick.  Hopefully I can finally come to a confident answer before March.

As far as the anti-tampering rule goes, I have a much harsher opinion on that.  I think it’s one of the biggest jokes in the NFL’s rulebook.  With super-agents representing multiple players and merging into big agency firms–and then meeting with each other and team executives in Indianapolis for the scouting combine–everyone has a very good idea how much players will be worth and which teams will be interested in which players well before free agency starts.  The anti-tampering rule is so rarely enforced that, as Mike Florio puts it, one has to be “caught with one hand pressed against the bottom of the cookie jar and the other hand giving the league office the finger“.

The fundamental problem is that, once the season is over, competitive agents and team executives are already thinking for next season.  Therefore, if I could unilaterally make a major change in that regard, here’s what I’d do:

  • Conduct a formal convention between agents and team executives the week after the Super Bowl. This replaces the informal “convention” that takes place right now at the scouting combine.
  • Start free agency two weeks after the Super Bowl ends.  This reduces the tampering potential from an entire month or more to just a few days, thus making it more practical to enforce.
  • Move the scouting combine to mid-March, right after when the free agency frenzy dies down and right before the draft frenzy begins.

These changes would put the two Super Bowl participants at a competitive disadvantage, as they’d only have two weeks to prepare for free agency, while everyone else has four to six weeks.  But…those two teams got to play in the Super Bowl, so I don’t think many will shed a tear at that disadvantage.

Of course, I don’t expect this to happen any time soon since significant change is very tough to come by in the NFL.  But one can always dream.