DALLAS — The NFL draft's answer to passive income streams is the compensatory pick formula.
Without getting too technical, NFL teams are awarded compensatory picks based upon the players lost in free agency, and how many qualifying free agents the team also signed. Other significant factors include how big the contracts were, and how much playing time those players receive during the season.
The Dallas Cowboys have been masterful at developing their own talent on rookie contracts that then are able to obtain second contracts elsewhere. This year's qualifying free agents from the Cowboys are guard Connor McGovern, who signed with the Buffalo Bills, and tight end Dalton Schultz, who signed with the Houston Texans. Dallas also did not sign any qualifying free agents to interfere with their chances of being awarded compensatory picks.
According to Lance Zierlein from NFL.com, who also does a fantastic job of simplifying the compensatory formula, the Cowboys should expect two sixth-round picks from losing McGovern and Schultz.
Schultz is on track to be the starting tight end in the Texans' offense. Unless Schultz gets injured, there shouldn't be any issues with playing time. The Cowboys' 2018 fourth-rounder from Stanford has played in at least 15 games for Dallas each season since 2019.
McGovern has flexibility at both guard and center, which should help him see playing time. In addition, the 2019 third-rounder proved himself as a starting-caliber left guard with 15 starts for Dallas last year. The Bills could use that type of stability along their interior offensive line.
The sixth-round selections could be used to take players, as the Cowboys aren't strangers to using their full complement of picks. Or the Cowboys could use those selections to build packages, move up, and take a player they like earlier in the draft.
Ultimately, the more picks that the Cowboys have, even if they are late on Day 3, it gives the personnel and scouting department further chances to use its vast information to target the best players.
"There’s no question that the way we approach the draft, the way that we basically assemble and the way we ultimately make a decision is so comforting to make when you’ve got the makeup of the information that you’ve got," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said April 29. "We don’t blink. We look at that and we go over and when we need to hear about a player again, it’s that information that is there. Information is it. It’s critical in making a decision."
The compensatory picks for the 2024 draft won't be officially known until about a month leading into the three-day event, which will be held in Detroit April 25-27, 2024.
Do you think the Cowboys will miss McGovern and Schultz in 2023? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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