The NFL awards these compensatory Draft picks to teams that lost more than they gained in free agency the year before. So the picks awarded for the 2018 Draft are based on free agency in 2017. The league has a complicated formula. Nobody knows exactly how it works, but we do know elements include number of players lost, salaries, and playing time with the new team.
In some ways gaining a compensatory pick is a curse. It means a team has lost a quality player.
Even though the Jets were not very active last year in free agency, they were never expected to gain an extra pick simply because they didn’t lose any good players in free agency. Geno Smith’s $1.17 million annual value from the Giants was the biggest contract a Jets free agent got according to Over the Cap. Players who are released do not factor into the compensatory pick calculations so the contracts guys like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker got from new teams did not help the Jets.
With a ton of cap space this offseason, the Jets are likely to add more than they lose in free agency. That means they probably won’t get any 2019 compensatory picks. If they sign some quality players instead, it will be well worth that minor drawback.