Robert Griffin III has signed with the Cleveland Browns. The Redskins now have nothing to show for the blockbuster 2012 trade besides memories.
Some have wondered if the Redskins will be eligible to get a compensatory pick for losing Griffin. The answer is, no, they won’t. Only players who play out their contracts and leave are counted in the complex formula the NFL uses to determine compensatory pick awards (scroll down in this article for a good explanation of how it works; the NFL’s exact formula is not available to the public). Since the Redskins will be releasing Griffin from the fifth-year option of his rookie contract they will not be eligible for a compensatory pick due to his departure.
Would they have received a comp pick if they had not picked up the option and had just let him become a free agent? Possibly. His departure would have gone into the formula that determines the distribution of the picks. But that doesn’t mean that the Redskins would necessarily have received a pick for Griffin.
Why? As noted in the article linked above, free agents lost are balanced against free agents signed when the picks are determined. So a potential pick for Griffin could be cancelled out if the Redskins were to acquire another team’s free agent.
To take one more step down this hypothetical road, even if the Redskins had been able to get a pick for Griffin it would not have been a very high pick. The round of the pick is determined by the value of the player’s contract. When Griffin signs with another team the contract is likely to be a short-term “prove it” deal. This means one or two years at maybe a million dollars per. That kind of deal translates into a pick in the sixth or seventh rounds.
Certainly, such a pick has some value and in the hands of Scot McCloughan it could turn into a productive player. But they have no chance to get anything back for Griffin thanks to the organization’s controversial decision to pick up his option.