Fifth-year option tracker for all 31 NFL teams' 2016 first-rounders | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

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Fifth-year option tracker for all 31 NFL teams' 2016 first-rounders

Since the advent of the most recent NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, the value of high draft picks has become higher than ever for various reasons. The first being the new rookie salary system that was implemented to limit spending on draft picks to a pre-determined salary tranche and thus to appropriate a higher percentage of the available cap space to veteran players.

Previously first overall picks, especially quarterbacks, were the highest paid players at their position before even taking a snap in the NFL. As the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Sam Bradford signed a six-year $78M deal with St. Louis. Conversely, as the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, Cam Newton signed a four-year $22M deal with Carolina.

Crucially, the rookie deals for first-round picks starting in 2011 include a fifth-year team option that pegs a player’s salary to a formula tied to some of the highest salary cap hits at a given player’s position in the league. This can provide the team leverage in contract extension negotiations or give a team one more season to either evaluate or to employ a player at a cost-controlled salary before they hit the open market in free agency.

After starting all 48 regular season games in his career and leading Carolina to a 12-4 record and playoff appearance in 2013, Cam Newton’s option was exercised that offseason. The 2011 No. 8 overall pick, QB Jake Locker’s option was not exercised for obvious reasons.

In the five draft classes from 2011-2015, 99 fifth-year options were exercised of a possible 160 (62%). Some players such as QB Johnny Manziel were cut by their teams before this decision arose, some players such as WR Kevin White just didn’t show enough to warrant the salary raise and two players (tackle Lane Johnson and edge defender Whitney Mercilus) signed multi-year extensions.

With the deadline for all 32 NFL teams to exercise the fifth-year options in their respective 2016 first- rounders' contracts looming, we at Pro Football Focus have put together a tracker to update as teams make their decisions. We've also added details on each of the 31 players and their performance in the NFL to date.

[Editor's Note: Pro Football Focus' ELITE subscribers can view advanced stats and grades for all NFL players dating back to 2006 in Premium Stats 2.0. Sign up today!]

1. QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Career-high PFF Grade: 84.3 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Goff continues to grow under HC Sean McVay, finishing as PFF’s 10th-ranked quarterback in 2018. No drama here.

2. QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Career-high PFF Grade: 84.9 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Another no brainer. The Eagles are all in on Wentz for their future despite some past injuries clearing the way for QB Nick Foles to lead the team to a Super Bowl LII victory. GM Howie Roseman has made it clear a long-term policy extension is in the works, although not completed by this deadline.

3. Edge Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers

Career-high PFF Grade: 88.8 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

GMs did well to start the 2016 draft. Bosa has consistently been a presence when on the field. In a 2018 year limited by injuries he still produced 37 total pressures in only nine games, including nine in two playoff games.

4. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Career-high PFF Grade: 77.0 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

The Cowboys have mostly built their offense around their 2016 first rounder who has responded by being one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. No NFL running back had more runs of 15 yards or more than Ezekiel Elliott in 2018. 

5. CB Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars

Career-high PFF Grade: 91.3 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Despite some reports of strife with their star corner who has shown extended bouts of dominant play, the Jaguars made the smart move by exercising his fifth-year option. Ramsey has allowed a passer rating of just 69.9 over the last two years combined. 

6. T Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens

Career-high PFF Grade: 75.8 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Stanley hasn’t been a dominant run blocker, but he has developed into one of the top pass-blocking offensive tackles in the NFL. This past season he produced an 87.0 pass-blocking grade which ranked third among all offensive tackles. He allowed just 17 total pressures from 577 pass-blocking snaps.

7. DI DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers

Career-high PFF Grade: 82.2 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Buckner’s pressure numbers (48, 52, 53) and defensive stops (35, 31, 37) have been consistently climbing over his three seasons while he’s been moving up and down the defensive line. He is in line for a contract extension sooner rather than later.

8. OT Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans

Career-high PFF Grade: 80.6 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

One caveat to the fifth-year option is they are only guaranteed for injury. Thus, Tennessee could have reversed course after 2019 if Conklin continued his decline year-over-year and could have gotten out if his 2020 salary with no penalty. However, they likely felt that Conklin’s injury risk was too high and the monetary gamble (likely $12.8M for 2020) was not worth it.

9. Edge Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears

Career-high PFF Grade: 69.6 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

In a relatively surprising move, the Bears have opted to pick up Floyd's option for the 2020 season, which makes his next two seasons critical for the former Bulldog. Since entering the league in 2016, Floyd has generated 111 pressures on 956 pass-rushing snaps; his pressure rate of 11.6% and his pass-rush win rate of 12.8% both rank among the bottom half of the 85 pass rushers with 500 or more pass-rushing snaps over that span. He is coming off the highest-graded season of his career in 2018, however, that came largely on the back of a 78.0 run defense grade.

10. CB Eli Apple, New Orleans Saints

Career-high PFF Grade: 65.0 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Now three years into his NFL career, Apple has struggled to find a groove in the pros. He earned overall grades of 58.9 and 64.5 in his first and second years in the league, respectively, and he allowed a passer rating of 108.4 on throws into his primary coverage during that span, good for 79th among the 84 quarterbacks with at least 100 targets. The former Buckeye has since been traded to the Saints, where he'll look to put together his first single-season grade above 70.0.

11. CB Vernon HargreavesTampa Bay Buccaneers

Career-high PFF Grade: 65.0 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

It remains to be seen what type of Hargreaves that Bucs fans will get to see as he was limited to just 53 snaps a year ago. He shined in the slot during his second season but still gave up four touchdowns compared to just one interception. He's missed 22 of his total 147 tackle attempts in his young career.

12. DI Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans Saints

Career-high PFF Grade: 81.6 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Rankins has rounded into form after two slow years, grading out with career-highs in overall grade, pass rushing, and run defense in 2018. He racked up 46 total QB pressures this past season, four short of his career-high, but did so on 148 fewer pass-rush attempts in 2018.

13. OT Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins

Career-high PFF Grade: 70.4 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

The start to Tunsil’s career hasn’t quite gone as well as the Dolphins had hoped when selecting him in the first round back in 2016, but he is coming off his best season as a pro last year. In 2018, Tunsil’s 70.4 overall grade ranked 21st among 35 qualifying left tackles.

14. S Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders

Career-high PFF Grade: 74.5 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Safety Karl Joseph continued his development in year three as a pro, grading well in all facets of the game and earning a career-high overall PFF grade of 74.5.

15. WR Corey ColemanNew York Giants

Career-high PFF Grade: 61.6 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: —

To say that Coleman's NFL journey has been bumpy would be somewhat of an understatement. He was traded from the Browns to the Bills prior to the 2018 season but was then released by the Bills, and picked up and released by the Patriots before he landed on the Giants' roster a month into the 2018 season. Three years into his career, he's still yet to grade above 70.0.

16. OT Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions

Career-high PFF Grade: 81.9 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Outside of a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for half of the 2017 season, Decker has been a fixture on the Lions’ offensive line since being drafted in 2016. As a rookie, he jumped out of the gates with an 81.9 overall grade that ranked 13th among 37 qualifying left tackles. His last two seasons haven’t met that mark in large part due to his run-blocking grade which has dipped below 60.0 each of the past two seasons. Last season, Decker allowed 37 pressures on 617 pass-blocking snaps.

17. S Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Career-high PFF Grade: 73.1 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

The loss of Neal in 2018 pretty much did the Falcons in last season as he had finished both his seasons as a pro with grades at 72.0 or higher and seemed well on his way to doing so again in 2018. Still, with a year off and only 23 years old, Neal has played 2,347 career snaps and has the experience of a much older player. His return will aid the Falcons immensely in 2019.

18. C Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis Colts

Career-high PFF Grade: 72.4 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Kelly has been the backbone of the Colts’ offensive line at center over his first three seasons. His rookie season offered intriguing promise with an 80.2 pass-blocking grade and only 20 pressures allowed in 675 pass-blocking snaps. Since then, he’s battled through a host of injuries with his neck and back, but when he’s in the lineup, he continues to play well. On 1,481 pass blocking snaps in his three-year career, Kelly has allowed only one sack.

19. Edge Shaq Lawson, Buffalo Bills

Career-high PFF Grade: 76.5 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

It has taken Lawson some time to settle in, but the fourth-year edge defender out of Clemson has made significant strides in overall grade in each of his first three seasons. His rookie year ended in an overall grade of just 52.8, but since, Lawson has seen that climb to 65.3 in 2017 and 76.5 last year. While his work over the last three seasons wasn't enough to warrant his fifth-year option, his career trajectory is still trending the right way.

20. LB Darron Lee, New York Jets

Career-high PFF Grade: 72.4 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

If you had just gone off the first two seasons, Lee looked like he was setting up to be labeled a bust. He graded below 50.0 in each of his first two years, largely due to the fact that he was a liability in coverage (40.1 coverage grade in 2016 and 42.6 coverage grade in 2017). That all changed last year, though; Lee easily recorded the highest grade of his career at 72.4, and that came as a result of his coverage grade jumping all the way to 84.8, which ranked tied for fourth among 92 qualifying linebackers.

21. WR Will Fuller V, Houston Texans

Career-high PFF Grade: 81.2 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

When he’s been on the field, Fuller has been an outstanding complement to All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The third-year wideout was on track for his best season yet before a torn ACL derailed his 2018 run. Fuller hasn’t topped 550 total snaps in each of his last two years, and now faces an uphill battle to regain his form from last season. In three years with Houston, he’s totaled a 60.6% catch rate and a 102.6 passer rating when targeted.

22. WR Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins

Career-high PFF Grade: 63.3 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Doctson has never really lived up to his first-round billing, and three years into his Washington tenure, you can’t help but wonder if a change of scenery is just what’s needed for both parties. Doctson has failed to record a single-season overall grade above 63.3 since being drafted, and he’s had almost as many drops (6) as receptions from deep passes (9). Not a good sign for a player who was supposed to serve as a deep threat.

23. WR Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota Vikings

Career-high PFF Grade: 56.4 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Treadwell has been one of the more disappointing first-round wide receivers taken in the last several years. He has not been able to carve out a major role in the Vikings’ offense, and when he has seen the field, Treadwell has not been impactful. He’s averaged just 9.2 yards per reception on 56 career catches, while Vikings quarterbacks have had a passer rating of only 67.4 when targeting him. That is not a recipe for more playing time heading into his fourth season.

24. CB William Jackson III, Cincinnati Bengals

Career-high PFF Grade: 90.2 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Jackson was one of the top cornerbacks in football in 2017, allowing a passer rating of just 36.1 on throws into his coverage. He was up and down in 2018 and did allow five touchdowns, but once again, he was a factor making plays on the ball as he registered 10 pass breakups.

25. CB Artie Burns, Pittsburgh Steelers

Career-high PFF Grade: 72.4 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Burns has been up and down in his time in Pittsburgh, coming away with four interceptions and 19 pass breakups but also allowing 13 touchdowns on 1,357 snaps in coverage over the past three seasons. He played a career-low 308 snaps and wound up getting benched in 2018.

26. QB Paxton LynchSeattle Seahawks

Career-high PFF Grade: 49.7 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: —

Where to begin, where to begin. Lynch simply hasn’t lived up the expectations most teams have for a first-round quarterback, which may also be why he is now with the Seattle Seahawks after two rough years in Denver. His 65.8 adjusted completion percentage in 2016 was worse than all but one starting quarterback from that year (Lynch played in only three games), and he hasn’t shown any significant development since then.

27. DI Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers

Career-high PFF Grade: 90.5 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: Yes

Clark has improved his game each season, raising his grade from 74.8 in 2016 to 87.8 in 2017 and 90.5 last season. Not only does he stand out as a great selection by the Packers late in the first round, but he has developed into one of the best young defenders in the NFL. Last season, Clark finished among the top-10 interior defensive linemen in run-stop percentage (9.9%) and pass-rush productivity (6.8). He has shown the ability to impact the game in multiple areas.

28. G Joshua Garnett, San Francisco 49ers

Career-high PFF Grade: 61.5 in 2016
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

It’s hard to throw the bust label on a player who has barely played, but Garnett is certainly hovering around it. After missing all of 2017 due to injury, the former first-round pick played just 59 snaps in another injury-riddled 2018. In his only full season, 2016, he struggled in three major facets — pass blocking, run blocking and penalties.

29. DI Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona Cardinals

Career-high PFF Grade: 59.5 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

It’s been a rough three years for Nkemdiche, having yet to eclipse a 60.0 grade. However, it hasn’t been without a few bright spots. In 2018, his best season yet, he had two particularly strong outings: In Week 1, he had four quarterback pressures and two stops. In the best game of his career, Week 12, Nkemdiche racked up three sacks and six stops.

30. DI Vernon Butler, Carolina Panthers

Career-high PFF Grade: 68.7 in 2017
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

Butler hasn’t quite lived up to the hype of a first-round prospect from a small school, but he has still produced solid seasons on a more limited snap count. His career year in 2017 saw him bring home 16 pressures on just 198 pass-rush attempts all while not missing a single tackle.

31. OT Germain Ifedi, Seattle Seahawks

Career-high PFF Grade: 55.6 in 2018
Fifth-Year Option Exercised: No

The former first-rounder just hasn’t panned out for the Seahawks. He’s yet to eclipse a season grade higher than his 55.6 mark this year, which ranked 72nd out of 82 qualifying tackles. Despite playing a ton of snaps, Ifedi hasn’t found his footing in pass blocking and has been a complete liability in the run game.

Tackle Lifes financial Challenges. Western Southern Financial Group.

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