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Bills still not in line for 2019 compensatory draft pick

Even though they've had some departures in recent days, the Buffalo Bills still aren't projected to receive any 2019 compensatory draft picks.

According to the website, which diligently tracks every team's additions and losses in unrestricted free agency on a cancellation chart, the Bills have signed seven qualifying free agents and lost seven as well.

The additions: Carolina defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Washington defensive end Trent Murphy, Cincinnati quarterback AJ McCarron and center Russell Bodine, New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford, New Orleans safety Rafael Bush and Oakland offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse.

The losses: Wide receiver Jordan Matthews (New England), offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson and quarterback Joe Webb (Houston), cornerback E.J. Gaines (Cleveland), linebacker Preston Brown (Cincinnati), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Dallas) and cornerback Shareece Wright (Oakland).

To review, a team is eligible to earn up to four compensatory draft picks if it loses more or better qualifying free agents than what it gains in an offseason. Although the NFL has never publicly released the formula for determining how compensatory picks are handed out, it’s believed that a player’s average salary, playing time and any postseason awards he wins all factor into the equation. Of those, average salary is believed to carry the most weight.

Players who sign contracts for the veteran minimum are not believed to factor into the compensatory formula, which is why Buffalo's deals with receiver Kaelin Clay, cornerback Philip Gaines and possibly defensive end Terrence Fede won't impact their chances.

Still, Buffalo would need any of its remaining unrestricted free agents to get a sizable contract elsewhere to put them in position to be in line for a compensatory pick. That seems unlikely since receivers Brandon Tate and Jeremy Butler, safeties Colt Anderson and Shamarko Thomas, running back Mike Tolbert, cornerback Leonard Johnson and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton are all minimum-salary candidates.

The other way the Bills could position themselves for a compensatory pick is if they cut any of their qualifying signed players before Week 10 of the 2019 season. That would give them a net loss, provided all of the seven players signed by other teams make those respective rosters and stick around past Week 10, too.

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