If you’ve been hoping to finish up on your seven-round mock draft, you can now officially do that, because we know where all 32 teams will be picking during April’s NFL Draft.
The final piece of the puzzle was released on Friday when the NFL awarded 32 compensatory selections to 16 teams. Although the exact formula the league uses to award picks hasn’t been released, we do know that it basically comes down to this: a team that loses more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
Using that “formula,” the big winners this year were the Bengals, Broncos, Chiefs and Browns, who all received four extra picks. The Dolphins (3), Rams (2) and Seahawks (2) were the only other teams to received multiple compensatory picks.
If no one is willing to give Bell the kind of contract he wants even without losing draft picks, he’d be eligible to stay in Pittsburgh on a one-year deal that equates to, per a league source, 5.892 percent of the 2017 salary cap. That’s considerably less than the 7.257-percent rate that applies under the franchise tag for running backs.
Based on a $165 million salary cap, those percentages equate to a franchise tender of $11.97 million and a transition tender of $9.72 million. For the Steelers, the question becomes whether it’s worth the extra $2.25 million to prevent another team from trying to pilfer Bell.
If the Steelers believe that no other team would break the bank for a guy who a significant injury history, a groin injury that was bad enough to at least make surgery an option, and a pair of substance-abuse policy violations, it makes plenty of sense to save the money and retain the rights to a running back who has been great when healthy and available, but who isn’t healthy and available often enough (he has missed 20 total games in four seasons) to justify that kind of investment.