The Cincinnati Bengals’ hopes of securing a compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL Draft comes down to the continued performance of their first-round pick from 2017.
John Ross, now with the New York Giants, has done just fine for his new team. He’s played just over 200 snaps as a complementary receiver, and he’s been productive when the ball has been thrown his way.
Ross has played just over 25% of the Giants’ offensive snaps thus far. Even if he doesn’t continue that pace, his contract should be enough to net the Bengals a compensatory pick, per OverTheCap.com’s Nick Korte.
7. It's more likely, though not guaranteed, that John Ross's contract will qualify him as a compensatory free agent even if he doesn't play at least 25% of the season snaps.— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) December 14, 2021
That means better chances for the Bengals to get a 4th round comp pick instead of nothing.
The compensatory pick process is like assets and liabilities. So long as your assets (departed qualifying free agents) outweigh your liabilities (qualifying free agent signings), you will be rewarded with whatever’s left after the process.
In Cincinnati’s case, they had five free agents depart for qualifying offers and signed just four free agents to deals that would count against the formula. Two of the departed free agents, William Jackson III and Carl Lawson, signed contracts that would count as fourth-round compensatory picks, and Trey Hendrickson is the only free agent they signed whose contract fits in that category. This nets out to a fourth-round comp pick because the three other departures and signings have cancelled each other out.
Korte believes that because other free agent signings of Ross’ caliber have simply not played enough, Ross’ contract is big enough to be included in the formula regardless of how much Ross plays for the rest of the season. It’s not a lock as of now, but it’s at least trending that way.
Just to be safe, the Bengals should hope Ross remains involved in the Giants’ offense as the season comes to an end.