The LA Chargers lost Drue Tranquill to the Kansas City Chiefs at a remarkably cheap price. Tranquill signed a one-year, $3 million contract (with incentives), giving him a deal that is less than that of new Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks.
Fans were upset with this move as Tranquill was coming off of a breakout season and this is the second offseason in a row in which the team let a breakout linebacker walk. However, at the end of the day, Brandon Staley and co. seemingly valued Eric Kendricks more and wanted to bring him in.
It hurts to see a fan favorite leave and it hurts, even more, to see them leave for a division rival. If that was not enough, Tranquill's deal continues to burn the Chargers in new ways. Tranquill's deal was so cheap that the Chargers are not even projected to get a compensatory pick for losing their marquee free agent.
Chargers not projected to get compensatory pick for Drue Tranquill signing with Chiefs.
Compensatory picks are decided by how much money a free agent signed for with their new team compared to the market. For example, the Chargers ended up getting the highest form of compensatory pick (third round) when Philip Rivers left the team and signed an expensive one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
A team's compensatory picks are canceled out with any free agents the team brings in. The Chargers have not brought in any free agents that apply to that formula as the only external addition that would have applied, Kendricks, was released from his contract. Players who are released do not count toward the calculus.
Only 32 compensatory picks are awarded each year so Tranquill's $3 million salary is not high enough for the Chargers to earn a pick. However, there are reported incentives on Tranquill's contract that make it worth up to $5 million. If he can hit those incentives then the Chargers may actually receive a pick.
A $5 million salary for Tranquill in 2023 would net the Chargers a sixth-round compensatory pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. As crazy as it sounds, Chargers fans should actually be rooting for Tranquill in Kansas City (as long as they are not playing the Bolts) to maximize what the team gets for losing the standout LB.