David King’s opinion on the choice of free agency fees was simple.
“It’s a bit like watching wrestling. We all know it’s bulls***, but there’s a place for it and we need it,” he told foxfooty.com.au.
One of the most confusing elements of the trading period, compensation choices are again a major talking point after several signings by free agencies over the past 24 hours.
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Mabior Chol’s move to the Gold Coast Suns left the Tigers with a roster at the end of the second round, currently Pick 38. This met some backlash from the football world, with Chol playing just 10 games for Richmond in 2021.
Sydney was given a pick at the end of the second round for George Hewett’s move to Carlton after the Swans chose not to match the offer.
King was a fan of the compensation system to help support lower-ranked teams, pointing out how valuable it was to Melbourne when they got Pick 3 after James Frawley’s move to Hawthorn – which the Demons used to secure Angus Bradshaw.
But again, he disagreed that there are “secret herbs and spices” for how the AFL lands on the compensation picks in each scenario.
“I like to be a little weighted and pliable. Melbourne needed that pick 3, it was Angus Brayshaw,” said the dual premiership Kangaroo.
“Okay, you lose Frawley, but you get Brayshaw, so it’s a seven-year down payment. Can you afford not to have that for the teams that need it?
“I think you need compensation, but in saying I don’t know how they come to the decision of Pick 3 or Pick 21 or whatever…. but I like it.”
Foxfooty.com.au explains how the compensation selection system works… or at least what we think we know.
HOW DO COMPENSATION CHOICES WORK?
The system has been in effect since 2012 and is secret so that clubs do not manipulate it. And it has changed over time.
Nine’s Jake Niall revealed details of it in 2018, revealing that players were ranked based on their annual salary and age. The compensation is then determined on the basis of those rankings.
The length of the deal is considered the most important factor in determining the value above a player’s annual salary.
But the Herald Sun has since last year revealed that players are being compared to those in their age bracket.
An AFL memo sent to clubs in the Herald Sun report states that the compensation seeks to “reflect the relative values of different players relative to each other”, rather than “compensate a club fully for a player’s loss”.
The compensation is determined by the wage band in which the player falls. After the formula proposes compensation, an expert AFL committee may recommend a change if there is a “materially non-conforming” result.
The tires are as follows:
– Top five percent = first round pick
– Top 15 percent = selection at the end of the first round
– Top 30 percent = second round choice
– Top 50 percent = choice at the end of the second round
– Top 70 percent = third round choice
– Below that = no choice
FRAWLEY WORTH MORE THAN FRIEND?
Compensation is awarded based on the receiving team’s finishing position, so that lower-ranked teams are better compensated. But it doesn’t necessarily equal the fair value to the outgoing player.
Hawthorn and Melbourne both sensationally received first round picks to Lance Franklin and Frawley respectively, who came next after their natural selections.
As previously mentioned, the Demons got Pick 3 for Frawley coming out of their 17th finish season in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Hawks, who had just won the flag, only received Pick 19 when Franklin left for Sydney in 2013 on a nine-year $10 million mega-deal.
Below is the list of the final compensation counts of the Free Office Period of 2020 ahead of Academy and NGA bidding.
Choice 7: Joe Daniher (Essendon to Brisbane)
Choice 10: Zac Williams (GWS to Carlton)
Choice 23: Brad Crouch (Adelaide to St Kilda)
Option 31: Aidan Corr (GWS to North Melbourne)
Dial 40: Rory Atkins (Adelaide to Gold Coast)
Choice 46: Isaac Smith (Hawthorn to Geelong)
No Fee: Shaun McKernan (Essendon to St Kilda)
COMPENSATION ALSO INFLUENCED BY ‘NET TOTAL POINTS’
Compensation is also affected by the free players each club has lost and won during a trade period.
It is a system lent by other free agency models in other codes.
An example of this is in the NFL, where the New England Patriots have historically allowed players to leave in free agency without signing anywhere because they wouldn’t receive as much draft composition.
Another example is Richmond acting for Robbie Tarrant rather than hiring him as a free agent as this would have affected their compensation to Chol.
HOW WILL TEAMS KNOW WHAT THEIR FEE WILL BE IF PLAYERS’ SALARY ARE NOT PUBLIC?
Well, they don’t.Teams can only try to project what a player’s value might be, which adds a confusing element to the system.
An important example is last year when Brad Crouch moved from Adelaide to St Kilda. There were mixed reports of the midfielder’s contract offer with the Saints, which affected Adelaide’s compensation.
It was the difference between the Crows receiving a first round composition, which would be Pick 2 after finishing 18th in 2020, or a pick at the end of the first round, which would be Pick 19 and then back. fall after Academy and NGA Bids.
The Crows could have matched any offer, of course, given that he had limited status. In the end, they received a pick at the end of the first round that went all the way back to the No. 28 roster.
BUT DOES THE EVENT REALLY FOLLOW A FORMULA?
As mentioned above, the AFL has an “expert committee” that can recommend changes if there is a “materially different” result.
Therefore, the AFL ultimately has the power to change any choice as it sees fit.
The compensation system has long been considered the AFL’s “secret herbs and spices.” Just as player salaries are not public, neither is it. So however we try to understand it, only the competition really knows how it works.
“They just make it up… There’s no formula,” AFL Medias Damian Barrett continued AFL Trade Radio this week.
“It can be wherever they want.”
Heck, even if the compensation picks are essentially improvised, a lot like wrestling, we’ll still be watching to see what happens next.