2017 NFL Contracts: Fifth-Year Option Predictions

Team have until May 2 to exercise their Fifth-Year Options for first-rounders from the 2014 NFL Draft. For an explanation of the Fifth-Year Option, click here.

Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

After missing 15 of his first 32 career games, Clowney finally proved to be the player the Texans expected when he was selected first overall. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection and was a second-team All-Pro. Although he’s yet to post elite numbers (six sacks and 16 TFLs), he has become a disruptive, game wrecker behind the line of scrimmage.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Glenn Robinson, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have moved Robinson between tackle and guard, and he hasn’t played well at either. He’s committed far too many penalties and was even a healthy scratch twice last season. Hopefully, the move back to guard will be a positive for him, but the fifth-year option for offensive lineman isn’t happening.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles has never really been much better than the king of garbage time. His 35 touchdowns in 2015 aren’t indicative of his play. He’s been the reason the passing game has struggled in Jacksonville. His elongated release seems as if it can’t be fixed. The team needs to address the position, but if they don’t they could exercise this option out of desperation. The best guess is that they don’t.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

Buffalo gave up two firsts and a fourth in order to move up and take the former Clemson standout. He’s missed 11 games in the last two years, but he’s a dynamic player when he’s healthy, exemplified by a six-game tear when he totaled 679 yards and six touchdowns. Watkins has too much talent, and the Bills gave up too much to let him walk into free agency after year four.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

2016 Defensive Player of the Year. Two-Time Pro Bowler. First player to ever be chosen to First-Team All-Pro at two positions in the same season. ‘Nuff Said.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons

Matthews struggled in his rookie season, partly due to injuries, but picked up his play immensely in 2015 and 2016. Atlanta won’t entertain replacing Matt Ryan’s blind side.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Six-foot-five, 230-pound wide receivers don’t grow on trees. Evans has increased his receptions and yards in each of his three seasons. The 2016 Pro Bowler has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving each year; and he doesn’t turn 24 until August 21.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Justin Gilbert, Free Agent (Cleveland Browns)

Started two career games, both with the Browns, before being traded to the Steelers last season for a 2018 sixth-round pick. Pittsburgh released him after this season.

5th-Year Option: N/A

Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

The Two-Time Pro Bowler out of UCLA has been an integral part of the Vikings defense since he arrived in Minnesota. The team can ill-afford to lose him, especially with Chad Greenway’s recent retirement creating a void at another linebacker spot.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

Ebron has improved in each of his three seasons in the NFL, but he’s yet to prove that he can make the kind of impact expected of a top-ten selection with only 1,496 yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons. Detroit will look to extend him, but the option seems unlikely.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans

Lewan made his first Pro Bowl in 2016 and has entrenched himself as Marcus Mariota’s blindside protection. The team realizes it needs to keep the former second-overall selection upright and healthy if it plans to win games.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Odell Beckham, Jr.

Odell. Beckham. Jr. He’s averaged 96 receptions, 1,374 yards and 11.5 touchdowns and has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons. Not only will this option be exercised, but Beckham will also be the league’s highest-paid wide receiver when New York extends him.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

He’s the most dominant interior pass rusher in the NFL and is just all-around disruptive; he’s averaged 9.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss and 34 quarterback hits in the last two—First-Team All-Pro—seasons.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears

Fuller has struggled to replicate his impressive rookie campaign and only appeared in one game last season.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers

The former Buckeye has fought injuries in each of his three seasons, but when he’s on the field, the Steelers defense is much better. He has too much athleticism and promise to not use the option.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

Three seasons. Three Pro Bowls. Two First Team All-Pros. One Second-Team All-Pro. Best guard in the game. Enough said.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens

Mosley is a major piece of the Baltimore defense and just posted a career-high four interceptions in 2016. The Ravens won’t allow the inside linebacker to walk.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Calvin Pryor, New York Jets

Pryor hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing just as the Jets defense hasn’t played to their ability on paper. The team may try to resign him, but they won’t pay him the option salary in year five.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Ja’Wuan James, Miami Dolphins

The Tennessee product should be the starting right tackle in Miami for some time.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots (New Orleans Saints)

Not only has Cooks proven himself to be one of the league’s more dangerous big-play threats, but the Patriots also invested a first-round draft pick in him. The team is going to keep him around.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers

Clinton-Dix has improved each season and shown he can affect the game in every way. He’s one of the best young safeties in the game.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Johnny Manziel, Free Agent, (Cleveland Browns)

We all know the story. There’s no need to pile on.

5th-Year Option: N/A

Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs

Dee Ford finished last season with ten sacks, 12.5 TFLs and 17 quarterback hits. With Tamba Hali aging and Justin Houston struggling with injuries, the Chiefs are fortunate to have another pass rusher to rely on. He’s proved his worth.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals

Dennard has started four games in three seasons and has underwhelmed when he did get on the field.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Jason Verrett, Los Angeles Chargers

When he’s been on the field, he’s been a great cover corner despite his size. However, staying on the field has been an issue; he’s missed 23 of 48 career games in his first three seasons. He has the talent to become a great player in this league, but he has to stay on the field. It’s been an unfortunate start for the former TCU Hornfrog.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

Twenty-one tackles and four sacks in three seasons isn’t enough for a first-round pick.

5th-Year Option: Not exercised.

Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals

Bucannon has been a big part of the Cardinals hybrid defenses. He’s served as a coverage linebacker after being drafted to play safety. The loss of the versatile Tony Jefferson may force the team’s hand, but I don’t know if Bucannon’s production matches his price tag. This is a toss-up.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

Despite missing the Panthers 2015 Super Bowl run, Benjamin has posted almost 2,000 yards and caught 16 touchdowns in his two full seasons. The team won’t let Cam Newton’s big-bodied receiver get away without leveraging the option.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Dominique Easley, Los Angeles Rams (New England Patriots)

Easley was waived by New England and signed a new one-year contract with the Rams. He’s a restricted free agent. The fifth-year option is no longer available.

5th-Year Option: N/A

Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers

Ward has missed 13 games and hasn’t produced enough to justify the price tag.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised

Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos

Roby has made some big plays in big spots in his career and is one of the more underrated corners in the NFL. Aqib Talib is 31 years old, and the team won’t let the cornerback of the future walk after four seasons.

5th-Year Option: Exercised

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater showed so much promise in his first two seasons. You’re always one play away though. Prior to the horrific injury he suffered during training camp, this would have been a no-brainer. Now, not so much.

5th-Year Option: Not Exercised
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