In the NFL, there are teams who thrive in the free-agent market, and there are those that would rather sit back and watch the free-agent frenzy pass them by. If teams choose to let their players walk, they typically are rewarded with a compensatory draft pick.
But it isn't that simple.
For an extremely detailed look at how the equation works for compensatory picks, OverTheCap has that for you, but the basics of the formula are much more than players lost vs. players gained. Steelers fans should remember how the team had to release Donte Moncrief before a deadline to get a pick for the loss of Le'Veon Bell, a decision based on that formula.
It also has to do with players lost, players gained and the payments received on both sides.
All of this is how the league dishes out those compensatory draft picks to help bolster draft classes.
Without getting into the intricacies of the equation, here is what the Steelers are looking at, as it pertains to players lost, gained and what they made.
PLAYERS LOST: Javon Hagrave / $13,000,000 Sean Davis / $4,000,000 B.J. Finney / $4,000,000 Tyler Matakevich / $3,575,000 Nick Vannett / $2,850,000
According to OverTheCap's formula, the Ebron signing nullifies the loss of Davis, the Watt signing negates the loss of Matakevich and Vannett and Wisniewski both didn't qualify into the compensatory formula.
Do the quick math, and this shows the Steelers are slated to receive two compensatory picks, a fourth-round pick for the loss of Hargrave, and a sixth-round pick for the loss of Finney.
Before celebrating, it is worth noting that things can certainly change as the season progresses. Just think of the aforementioned scenario with Moncrief. When L.J. Fort was released by the Eagles, it altered the compensatory equation. Even though Fort signed with the Ravens shortly after his release, the Steelers had to release Moncrief to keep their third-round compensatory pick.
However, if things go as planned and players remain with their new teams, the Steelers will be getting some extra picks when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around. But if someone like Matakevich gets cut by the Bills, it will have an impact on the equation. For now, the Steelers are projected to get two extra picks in 2021, which will be welcome after the team had just six picks in the 2020 draft.