Latest On Fifth-Year Option Decisions

Before May 3, NFL teams will have to make decisions on 2012’s first-round draftees. Assuming those players are still on their rookie contracts and haven’t been waived since being drafted, they have fifth-year options on their deals for the 2016 season.

The salaries for those team options are determined by position, with the top 10 draftees being paid amounts equal to 2015’s transition tag figures. So quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill will be in line for ’16 salaries of $16.155MM if and when their options are picked up.

Although the deadline to exercise those options is still weeks away, several decision-makers have weighed in at this week’s league meetings in Arizona, discussing what they intend to do. Here’s the latest:

  • Unsurprisingly, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed that he’ll exercise the $11.058MM option for 2016 on linebacker Luke Kuechly, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “I’d have to be brain-dead not to,” Gettleman said.
  • The Bills will be picking up their fifth-year option on cornerback Stephon Gilmore, general manager Doug Whaley tells Mike Rodak of (Twitter link). Since Gilmore was the 10th overall pick in 2012, his option for the 2016 season will be worth $11.082MM.
  • Like Luck and Tannehill, Robert Griffin III‘s option for 2016 would be worth $16.155MM. Washington GM Scot McCloughan said today that the team hasn’t yet made a decision on that option, according to Tarik El-Bashir of (via Twitter). The option salaries are only guaranteed for injury, so Washington could theoretically pick up RGIII’s option, then cut him before the 2016 league year if he doesn’t play well this season.
  • The Lions remain undecided on whether or not they’ll pick up Riley Reiff‘s fifth-year option for 2016, GM Martin Mayhew told reporters on Monday, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Reiff has been very good at left tackle for Detroit over the last couple seasons, so it seems extremely unlikely that the team would turn down his option. Still, the Lions unexpectedly declined to pick up Nick Fairley‘s fifth-year option a year ago, so it’s not a lock yet.
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