At issue: to what degree NFL teams should consider gaining or losing compensatory choices when signing unrestricted free agents.
AdamJT13 knows this subject better than anyone I've encountered outside the league and better than lots of league people. He works at it, and it shows. One point in his latest post covers how the timing of a player's release can affect draft compensation.
Basically, the Cardinals could have gained a third-round compensatory choice in the 2010 draft if they would have released running back Jason Wright before Week 10 last season. Teams obviously can't make roster moves based solely on compensatory picks. They must try to win games. But at what point does the reward -- in this case, a third-round choice -- justify releasing a player with moderate value?
Every player has a price and teams would release lots of mid-tier players late in a season if they could recoup high enough draft choices.
AdamJT13: The Cardinals might argue that they were in the hunt for a playoff spot, a division title or even a championship, and getting rid of a trusted veteran who provides depth at running back and contributes on special teams wouldn't help them achieve their ultimate goal. Whether that's a good enough reason to forgo a third-round comp pick is debatable, but it at least can be taken into consideration when judging the Cardinals' decision.
The broader issue is simply that teams should know the full implications of their actions. Thanks to AdamJT13, the rest of us can have a better idea, too.