It’s the first time since comp picks were introduced in 1994 — the year after salary-cap free agency was introduced in the NFL — that Seattle has netted the maximum four. Teams receive comp picks if they suffer a net loss of qualifying free agents in the previous offseason.
The Hawks are one of three teams with the maximum four comp picks this year (also Denver and Kansas City). They figure to get four more in 2016, based on their free-agent losses this year. And they could end up with a few more in 2017.
Last offseason, they lost seven qualifying free agents and signed none. Golden Tate ($6.2 million average with Detroit) netted a fourth-round pick, Brandon Browner ($5.67 million with New England) earned a fifth and Breno Giacomini ($4.5 million with New York Jets), Walter Thurmond ($3.5 million with New York Giants) and Clinton McDonald ($3 million with Tampa Bay) were worth sixth-rounders — although only two counted due to the four-selection limit.
Seattle now has a second, a third, three fourths, two fifths, three sixths and a seventh.
Giacomini was expected to count as a fifth-rounder, but he must have just missed the fifth-round cutoff.
The Seahawks have had just four total comp picks in five drafts under John Schneider, but two straight Super Bowl appearances have created a big market for Seattle free agents — they are a net minus-12 UFAs over the past two offseasons.
Next year, they are looking at 11 total picks again — a first (until they trade it), a second, two thirds, a fourth, two fifths, two sixths and two sevenths.
That is based off the losses this offseason of Byron Maxwell (third-round comp), James Carpenter (fifth), Malcolm Smith (sixth) and Jeron Johnson (seventh). The Hawks have signed one unrestricted free agent who counts in the formula for comp picks: Ahtyba Rubin. He is offset by the loss of O’Brien Schofield.
The Hawks are likely to be in for even more comps in 2017. Assuming they re-sign Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, J.R. Sweezy and Jon Ryan before free agency next year, that would leave potential free agents such as Brandon Mebane (if he’s not a cap casualty this year), Russell Okung, Bruce Irvin, Tony McDaniel, Jeremy Lane and Robert Turbin. Okung could bring a third-rounder and Irvin a fourth, with the others potentially netting late picks if they don’t stay with Seattle.
OTHER COMP NOTES
**The Seahawks have not had a comp pick before the sixth round since 2005, when they pulled a third-rounder for losing Shawn Springs that they used on Leroy Hill.
**Seattle’s best comp picks have been Hill, Malcolm Smith (seventh in 2011), Ben Obomanu (seventh in 2006), Ryan Hannam (fifth in 2002) and Floyd Womack (fourth in 2001).
**The Seahawks have become like the Ravens, who have netted four comp picks in each of the last three years and lead the NFL with 44 since comp picks were created. The Ravens received three comp picks this year.
RULES FOR COMP PICKS
This compensatory system has been in place since 1994, the year after unrestricted free agency was implemented.
The basic rules for comp picks are such:
**A team losing more or better qualifying free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive extra draft picks.
**Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula that uses salary, playing time and postseason honors. Only unrestricted free agents whose contracts naturally expire or void (no forced voids) are eligible under the formula, and those who sign one-year deals for low minimums generally do not count.
**A team receives picks that equal the net loss of compensatory free agents, with a maximum of four. The highest round in which a team can acquire a comp pick is the third (although a 10-year vet can net no more than a fifth).
**The league hands out 32 extra choices each year; if there are not 32 qualifying losses, the teams at the top of the draft receive the extra seventh-round picks until 32 choices have been allocated.
**Comp picks cannot be traded.