The 49ers are expected to have two compensatory picks in 2022, according to this projection from NFL Media's Lance Zierlein.
The NFL allocates compensatory picks each year (figure based on total number of teams in NFL) through a formula it doesn't release to the public that accounts for average annual salary per year (APY), snap count and postseason success of qualifying free players that depart or are brought in through free agency.
Compensatory picks also are doled out through the NFL's new program encouraging diverse hiring in high-level football positions. The 49ers were awarded three total picks over 2021, '22 and '23 after Martin Mayhew was hired as the Washington Football Team general manager, and Robert Saleh was named the head coach of the New York Jets.
The 49ers used that 2022 compensatory pick as part of the trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up and select Trey Lance with the third overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 49ers lost four players in free agency that qualify according to Zierlein's projections, in wideout Kendrick Bourne (New England Patriots), Kerry Hyder (Seattle Seahawks), Solomon Thomas (Las Vegas Raiders) and Ahkello Witherspoon (Seahawks).
However, the 49ers also signed a pair of qualified free agents: Linebacker Samson Ebukam and center Alex Mack. According to Zierlein, the losses of Bourne and Witherspoon are canceled out by Ebukam and Mack.
The combined departures of Hyder and Thomas will leave the 49ers with a pair of seventh-round draft picks.
It's important to note that none of this is official, as the full list of compensatory draft picks is released after the 2021 season ends.
But with the 49ers being down a first-round and that third-round compensation selection after the trade for Lance, they'll be hoping to maximize each and every pick as either a potential young piece or a trade chip.