Predicting 2022 5th-Year Option Decisions for Former 1st Round NFL Draft Picks | Bleacher Report

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John Munson/Associated Press

Many teams are busy considering what to do with their 2019 first round pick, as the 2022 NFL Draft is just around the corner. 

The current structure for rookie contracts leaves teams with a major decision to make after three years. The fifth-year option comes with the first-round pick’s contract. Teams then have to decide if they want to exercise it. 

The fifth-year option was previously even more valuable because it was a continuation to the rookie pay scale. That was changed by the 2020 collective agreement. The fifth year option is now more in line than veteran pay and can increase based upon playing time and performance. 

This year’s result is more difficult than in previous years. The Seattle Seahawks are the first to officially exercise this option with newly acquired tight-end Noah Fant. Adam Schefter ESPN. 

Teams have until May 2nd to decide whether or not they will exercise the 2023 option for the 2019 draft. 

Use Over the Cap Here are projections of the value of each fifth year option. Each slide includes a prediction about whether the team will exercise the option or decline it, based on the player’s current position and projected production. 

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Nick Wass/Associated Press

Projected Option $13.4 Million

The 2019 draft class had few first-round receivers. Marquise Brown, the No. 1 pick in 2019, was the first to leave the board. 25. 

The Ravens’ receiver has not been the best in class. He’s Sixth in the draft class D.K. in the receiving yards Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and A.J. Brown taking the top three spots. 

The Ravens have an opportunity to lock him in for a fifth season, which is a significant advantage. Brown has shown that he can be a second option. He ran over 1,000 yards in 2021 for the first time in his professional career and is a solid addition to Mark Andrews and Rashod bateman, tight end in 2021. 

Brown’s projected fifth year option salary is the 22nd highest cap for 2023, per Spotrac. This is before 2023 free agency, which sees another group of receivers get paid. 

Brown will be worth the price of his performance in 2023, even if he doesn’t do better than what he did in 2021. 

Prediction: Exercise

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Matt Durisko/Associated Press

Option Projected: $11.7 Million

Devin Bush was a clear choice in his rookie season. He was fourth in the Defensive Rookie Of The Year voting after a 2019 season in that he had 109 tackles and four passes defended. 

It’s not an easy decision for Steelers two years later. 

Bush tore the ACL in the fifth round of the 2020 campaign. He missed the rest of the year. When he returned, his 2021 season looked nothing like his rookie year. He was able to complete the season at 82nd among the 87 qualified linebackers. PFF

Bush could be one of the most talented players in 2022 if it is possible to return to his rookie form. It’s a high price to pay to bet $11.7 million that he will do that. 

The Steelers would be better to make 2022 a prove it year. 

Prediction: Decline

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Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

Projected Option $8 million

The Raiders will decide what to do with Josh Jacobs. This is the latest glimpse at how the league values runningbacks. 

Saquon Barkley, the only running back selected in the first round 2018 draft, had his fifth-year option last year. The Giants did not select Barkley as the second overall pick. It’s a decision that the new regime may wish to reverse after his 2021, 593-yard, two touchdown season. 

Jacobs will be a fascinating case study. Jacobs has been a key part of the offense, with more than 1,200 yards in each of his three seasons. He also made it to the Pro Bowl in 2020. 

It’s important to mention that Josh McDaniels, who is the new coach, and Dave Ziegler are not the ones who drafted Jacobs. 

On the surface, $8million isn’t a huge cap. According to SpotracIt would be the 11th highest running back position in 2023.  

Davante Adam and Derek Carr were awarded big-money contracts. It’s hard to see the Raiders spending more on the running back position. Jacobs is a talented back. However, with so many skilled players already on the roster, the Raiders could look for cheaper options. 

Prediction: Decline

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Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Projected Option $22.4 Million

It’s been three years since the New York Giants asked Daniel Jones if he could be a franchise quarterback. They drafted him with the sixth pick of the 2019 draft. 

The answer is, at best, inconclusive. 

As a rookie, Jones was a promising player with 24 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, and more than 3,000 yards of passing. He hasn’t been able stay healthy and hasn’t come close to those numbers. He only played 11 games in 2021 throwing for 10 touchdowns as well as seven interceptions. 

These numbers and Jones’ record as a starter (12-25), are disappointing. However, there is plenty to be criticized. Jones has been paired with Joe Judge and Pat Shurmur to be his head coaches. His offenses were coordinated by Mike Shula, Jason Garrett, and Freddie Kitchens. 

This is not exactly a lineup that inspires faith. 

He has enough evidence to prove his worth as a starting quarterback for another year. He is unlikely to be able to commit for two years at the expected price. 

Jones should be able to prove his worth during the 2022 season as the Giants’ new head coach Brian Daboll. If he can do that, the Giants could talk to him about a contract renewal. 

Prediction: Decline

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Danny Karnik/Associated Press

Projected Option $13.2 million

The Falcons took two first-rounders in 2019 and went all in on the offensive line. They selected Chris Lindstrom as the 14th selection, and Kaleb McGregor as the No. 31. 

It was strange that they chose to go with the guard first, given the positional value of guard and tackle. It is still bizarre, even with the benefit to hindsight. 

Lindstrom has proven to be a valuable contributor for the Falcons. The whole unit was completed 27th in PFF’s He did not get the highest offensive line grades. He was the highest graded player and allowed no sacks in more than 1,000 snaps. 

McGary, on other hand, was a liability. According to PFFHe has surrendered 26 sacks over 46 games.  

Although the $13.2 million price tag on an interior lineman is hard to swallow, the Falcons have no other options. McGary has not proven to be worth that much money, although it is fine for a good tackle.

Prediction: Exercise Lindstrom, Decline McGary

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Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Projected Option $12.6 Million

This season, the Bengals’ offensive line was a punching bag. Although the offense saw new heights, Joe Burrow still had 51 sacks. The Bengals’ struggles, including in the Super Bowl, were largely attributable to the line. 

Jonah Williams was quiet impressive, despite the terrible interior. After sustaining a shoulder injury in his rookie season, he missed the remainder of 2019, and then played 10 games with knee injuries in 2020. 

He looked like a pro after he was finally fit and on the field in 2021.  

Williams allowed eight sacks and received a 77.1 rating from PFF. Ranking 32nd The site has graded 83 tackles. 

These numbers aren’t impressive, but they do show promise. The Bengals made clear moves this offseason to add talent to their offensive line, but they didn’t find a replacement to Williams. 

It’s not an accident. He will be the starting left tackle going forward, so it makes sense to keep him under contract for an additional year. 

Prediction: Exercise

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Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Projected Option $11.5 million

The Jets made a huge move by selecting Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle, with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft. Although he isn’t the game-wrecker they expected, he’s been an excellent and reliable starter. 

Williams was a disruptive force in the interior pass-rusher position, recording 87 pressures and 15.5 bags across three seasons. Sports Info Solutions

It is also important to remember that interior defenders can take some time to reach their full potential. Chris Jones, for example, didn’t reach double-digit sacks in his third season. 

Williams has proven himself to be a good starting player at best. He was 37th PFF’s last season qualifying interior defenders. Williams could be the interior force that offenses need to focus on at all costs. 

He’s worth keeping for a fifth-year, in any case. 

Prediction: Exercise

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