The Baltimore Ravens usually sit out the initial phase of free agency, content to observe and limit themselves to mostly cut free agents, a strategy which has garnered them the most compensatory picks by a large margin. The team has only signed 4 unrestricted free agents over the past four offseasons who were not cut, so it was a surprise when they locked up one right at the get-go in tight end Ben Watson, and then followed that up a few days later with the signing of former pro bowl safety Eric Weddle to a multi-year deal.
The Ravens possessed a weak free agent class in 2016, having franchised Justin Tucker and resigned Morgan Cox and Shareece Wright from an already mediocre class. While offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele was one of the crown jewels of the class, the rest of the Ravens free agent flotsam and jetsam was made up of barely above minimum salary players: Chris Givens, Courtney Upshaw, and if they could find teams, players like Matt Schaub, Jimmy Clausen, and Chris Canty.
When Schaub surprisingly signed with the Falcons early in free agency to return to Atlanta, there was still some hope that either Givens, Upshaw, or both would qualify. When Givens didn't get a big enough cap hit on his one year deal with the Eagles, that seemed to seal Upshaw's fate in Baltimore. Upshaw would surely get enough money in free agency to qualify, one would think. But the Ravens would be unlikely to forgo the projected 3rd round (See more below on the 3rd round status**) to resign Upshaw. With interest from the Jets, Patriots, and others, most where expecting him to get a multi-year deal in the $2 to $3 million AAV range, which would be plenty to qualify for a compensatory pick.
When it came out that Upshaw had only signed for one year with Atlanta, the worrying began. Would he qualify? Surely he wouldn't sign for less than $1 million before incentives. Now, the terms are in, and he qualifies based on the projected cut-off....just barely.
Courtney Upshaw one-year Falcons deal: $1.25 million, $390K signing bonus, $760K salary, $6,250 per game active— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 28, 2016
With just $1.15 million in non incentive money (signing bonus plus base salary), Upshaw makes it over the projected cut-off, per overthecap, the only source for compensatory pick projections.
|Projected APY Cutoffs By Round|