Lun. May 27th, 2024

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The deadline is approaching for NFL teams to pick up fifth-year options on the rookie contracts of 2021 first-round draft picks. Teams must decide whether to keep those players for a fifth season by May 2.

Some teams will sign players — like Eagles WR DeVonta Smith — to contract extensions; others will pick up the option and see if the player continues to develop; or teams can decline to keep the player for a fifth season.

Below, we will be tracking all of the picked-up and declined options for the 2021 class.


What is a fifth-year option?

According to OverTheCap.com, the 2020 collective bargaining agreement allows teams to exercise a fifth-year option for players drafted in the first round as an addition to the standard four-year rookie contract. Upon being exercised, the fifth-year option is fully guaranteed, and any base salary in the player’s fourth year that was not fully guaranteed will become so. The fifth-year salary is calculated based on four tiers: Basic, playing time, one Pro Bowl and multiple Pro Bowls.


The 2021 first-round draft class

Option picked up? Yes.

Waddle was an immediate success in his debut season, setting an NFL rookie record with 104 catches. He has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each season, and his 251 career receptions are the 12th most for a player in his first three seasons.


Option picked up? Yes.

The Eagles and Smith have agreed to a three-year extension that ties the wide receiver to the team through the 2028 season. Terms were not disclosed, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the contract is worth $75 million, with $51 million guaranteed. The team also exercised Smith’s fifth-year option, which will pay him a salary of around $16 million for the 2025 campaign.


Option picked up? Yes.

Phillips set a Dolphins rookie record with 8.5 sacks in 2021 and followed it with a seven-sack campaign in 2022. He played only eight games last season before an Achilles tendon tear landed him on injured reserve, but he was on pace for a career-high 14 sacks.

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