After two days of the legal tampering period in the NFL before the new league year kicks off at 4 PM on Wednesday, the Steelers have already lost a number of Unrestricted Free Agents. With Bud Dupree signing with the Tennessee Titans followed by Matt Feiler joining the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday, things were a bit discouraging. Add in Tuesday where the Steelers lost Tyson Alualu to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Mike Hilton to the Cincinnati Bengals, and many Steelers fans feel like the sky is falling.
While losing these players is not ideal, most of them were expected. Many felt Tyson Alualu was a good candidate to remain in Pittsburgh, but unfortunately it did not end up being the case.
With the Steelers yet to sign an Unrestricted Free Agents from another team, they currently have a net loss of four Compensatory Free Agents (CFAs) towards the 2022 compensatory formula. As a reminder, Street Free Agents, who are players who were released by their previous team and did not have their contract expire, do not qualify as CFAs. In other words, the signing of B.J. Finney does not negatively affect the Steelers compensatory formula.
While there are other factors that will ultimately determine any compensatory draft picks the Steelers could receive in 2022, it begins with the contract the departing player signed. Looking at the yearly average, players are designated into rounds for compensation.
Remember, other factors such as snaps played, All-Pro, and All-Conference selections factor into the equation once the 2021 season is complete. But for now, all estimates for compensatory draft picks are based solely on the contracts signed.
As it stands now, the Steelers would be eligible for the maximum of four compensatory draft picks. Exactly where they fall is estimated as follows by overthecap.com:
Bud Dupree ($16.5 million/year): Third round
Matt Feiler ($7 million/year): Fifth round
Mike Hilton ($6 million/year): Sixth round
Tyson Alualu ($3 million/year): Sixth round
As the contracts stand right now, Dupree is the only estimated third-round compensatory draft pick in the NFL according to OTC. This would land the Steelers the 97th pick in the draft if it were to continue to hold up.
Matt Feiler comes in as the fifth of seven fifth-round picks. Mike Hilton is currently the first of the nine sixth-round picks with Tyson Alulau being the last. This means the loss of Mike Hilton is on the verge of moving up to the fifth round, but Alualu runs the chance of dropping to the seventh round.
Where all the Steelers’ picks fall in these rounds right now does not mean much as there are bound to be a lot more free agent signings as well as players being canceled out. The most important thing is the rounds the Steelers’ lost CFAs are estimated.
What is interesting at this point is it the Steelers still have a couple of potential big ticket free agents they could lose which would only make these picks even higher. Remember, with only a maximum of four compensatory draft picks given to one team during any one draft, the Steelers can’t gain additional picks but only improve their standing.
So this is where the Steelers currently stand when it comes to compensatory draft picks in 2022. Yes, it is more than a year away before these losses could come back to the Steelers. But as fans are mourning the departure of some of their favorite players, perhaps knowing what is coming down the road eventually can help lessen the blow.