Outstanding Fifth-Year Option Decisions

As our fifth-year option tracker shows, plenty of teams have been proactive about making their decisions on 2015 options for 2011 first-rounders well in advance of this year’s May 3 deadline. However, there are still a number of players requiring resolution on their contract situations before this weekend.

Here are the 16 players whose fifth-year options have been formally exercised so far:

While no official announcement has necessarily been made, reports from beat writers – or from general managers themselves – have strongly suggested these four players will not have their options picked up:

Meanwhile, the following two players are no longer even on their rookie contracts, meaning the fifth-year option doesn’t apply to them:

That leaves us with 10 players who we’re still waiting on for official resolution. Let’s dive in and examine them one by one….

  • Von Miller (LB, Broncos), $9.754MM: There’s no drama about Denver’s decision on Miller. His option will be exercised — it’s simply a matter of when, not if.
  • Aldon Smith (LB, 49ers), $9.754MM: Smith represents perhaps the most intriguing case of any of 2011’s first-rounders. On the field, he’s developed into one of the NFL’s best edge defenders, but the 24-year-old has had a number of off-field issues and incidents. We heard earlier in the month, that the Niners were likely to decline Smith’s fifth-year option to send a message, but it doesn’t appear the team has officially made its decision yet.
  • Blaine Gabbert (QB, 49ers), $14.666MM: The lack of reports so far on Gabbert’s option may simply be a result of the lack of a intrigue in this decision. The 49ers won’t be exercising this option.
  • Christian Ponder (QB, Vikings), $9.686MM: While Ponder appears likely to enter the 2014 season as a backup, Minnesota’s decision isn’t quite as easy as San Francisco’s on Gabbert. I don’t expect the Vikings to exercise the option, but Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune and cap expert Joel Corry did a good job last week of explaining why the decision isn’t cut-and-dried.
  • Ryan Kerrigan (LB, Redskins), $7.038MM: Kerrigan has been one of Washington’s most productive defenders over the last couple years, and recent comments by GM Bruce Allen seemed to signal this option would be exercised.
  • Prince Amukamara (CB, Giants), $6.898MM: As of last Tuesday, the Giants were reportedly still undecided on this decision, which could go either way. For what it’s worth, Amukamara indicated that he may feel somewhat slighted if the club turns down his option.
  • Phil Taylor (DT, Browns), $5.477MM: Taylor, who said last week he’d like the Browns to exercise his option, has been solid during his three NFL seasons, but is more of a situational player than an every-down difference-maker. Cleveland has some flexibility and make figure that rolling the dice on Taylor’s relatively inexpensive option is worth the risk, but this is another decision that remains up in the air.
  • James Carpenter (OL, Seahawks), $7.438MM: A report from earlier this week suggested the Seahawks are leaning toward declining Carpenter’s option.
  • Jonathan Baldwin (WR, 49ers), $6.776MM: Baldwin’s rookie contract was already reworked to reduce his salary, so it’s very unlikely that San Francisco will see this option as a worthy investment.
  • Derek Sherrod (OL, Packers), $7.438MM: Plagued by injuries so far in his NFL career, Sherrod hasn’t seen significant action for the Packers, and the team won’t be inclined to keep him under control at such a high salary.
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