Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers broke a six-year drought when they were awarded an additional draft pick through the NFL's compensatory system, which is aimed at balancing net losses in free agency the previous year. The Buccaneers will not be making it two years in a row.
Tampa Bay was given a single compensatory pick late in Round Seven last year and they didn't even end up using it to select a player. That choice, number 255 overall and second-to-last in the entire draft, was included in the trade package when the Buccaneers moved down five spots in the first round, from number seven to number 12, and picked up two second-round picks from Buffalo in return.
On Friday, the NFL announced its compensatory picks for 2019. As usual, there were 32 of them, and they were spread among 15 times, with Arizona, New England and Washington leading the way with four each. The Atlanta Falcons, who were awarded two comp picks, are the only team in the NFC South to receive extra selections.
As such, the Buccaneers will head into the 2019 draft with six picks, as expected. They own their own picks in each of the first five rounds, beginning with the fifth-overall selection in the opening frame. The Buccaneers do not have a sixth-round pick, having traded it to Arizona in January to facilitate the hiring of new Head Coach Bruce Arians. The Cardinals sent back their seventh-rounder in the deal, the first pick in that frame; Tampa Bay had previously traded its own 2019 seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh in September of 2013. That deal sent safety J.J. Wilcox and this year's seventh to the Steelers in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018, which the Bucs used to draft Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy.
The addition of the 32 compensatory picks also finalizes the draft order and affects where the Bucs will be picking in rounds four through seven. Seven of the 32 picks fall at the end of the third round, four at the end of the fourth round, three at the end of the sixth round, 10 at the end of the sixth round and, finally, eight to finish off the final round and the draft as whole.
Here is where the Buccaneers are currently slotted to pick in the 2019 draft:
|Round||Pick in Round||Overall Pick|
* via trade with Arizona
Prior to 2017, compensatory picks could not be traded, as the Bucs did with their choice last year. So the last time Tampa Bay actually used a comp pick was in 2011, when they took Idaho tight end Daniel Hardy with their additional seventh-rounder. Hardy did not make the team. Overall, in 23 years of compensatory picks being awarded, the Buccaneers have been given 19 of them. The most prominent player the Buccaneers have drafted using a compensatory pick is linebacker Alshermond Singleton, a 1997 fourth-round selection who started at strongside linebacker for the 2002 Super Bowl team.
Those 19 compensatory picks for the Buccaneers are tied for the eighth-lowest in the NFL since the system was put in place. Baltimore, with 50 (including one this year) leads the way, with Dallas and Green Bay next at 42 each.
The NFL uses a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors to determine which teams will receive compensatory picks based on unrestricted free agents they lost the previous season. No team can receive more than four compensatory picks in a given year and the league gives no more than 32 overall per draft even if more teams qualify.
The big winners in this year's compensatory system are the Rams, Patriots and Redskins. The Rams get two picks at the end of the third round based largely on the losses for Trumaine Johnson and Sammy Watkins. The Patriots also get two in that same range after having six unrestricted free agents depart last year, including Danny Amendola, Malcolm Butler and Nate Solder. Washington gets the first comp pick, number 96* overall, after Kirk Cousins left for Minnesota last offseason.
(* The first compensatory pick at the end of the third round would usually be #97, but the New York Giants used their 2019 third-round pick to make a pick in last year's supplemental draft, so there are only 95 selections in the first three rounds this year.)