There has been a lot of discussion, rightfully, recently about the future status of Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who is entering his fourth season, and as a former first-round draft pick, that means that the team’s decision to pick up his fifth-year option is due soon.
The majority opinion is certainly that he has not played to a level that would merit the compensation, which in his case, for an outside linebacker selected after the first 10 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, would come out to $8,369,000.
That salary, of course, would not be guaranteed for anything but career-threatening injury until the start of the 2017 season, which is the basis by which many argue that it should be picked up now even if he hasn’t earned it.
Many, however, have also pointed to a supposed fact that there had been little movement thus far when it comes to teams picking up the options of their former first-round draft picks during this offseason.
In order to provide some context, I have done some research, starting with my basis using Pro Football Talk’s fifth-round option tracker, with which I fleshed out with hypotheticals using the salient analysis of Joel Corry written earlier in the month for CBS Sports, as well as some additional research, to fill in the gaps.
To start, of the 32 former first-round draft picks, only 30 are due an option this offseason, as the result of one release, and in the case of another, a suspension resulting in the option getting pushed back. Of the 30 remaining, eight have had their fifth-year option picked up, with another signing a long-term extension already.
Of the remaining 21 players, an additional eight have been said previously to be likely to be signed to their fifth-year option, or work out a long-term deal, with an additional eight players being unlikely to have their option picked up, including one player who was recently traded for.
The remaining five players have a status that is unclear, and that includes the Steelers’ Jones, in addition to Sylvester Williams of the Broncos, Datone Jones of the Packers, Tavon Austin of the Rams, and Luke Joeckel of the Jaguars.
- Eric Fisher, OT, Chiefs (talking about extension)
- Luke Joeckel, OT, Jaguars (after draft)
- Dion Jordan, DE, Dolphins (his suspension froze his contract and pushes the option back)
- Lane Johnson, OT, Eagles (previously signed a new, long-term dealwith the Eagles)
- Ziggy Ansah, DE, Lions (expected)
- Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Browns (unlikely)
- Jonathan Cooper, G, Cardinals (traded)
- Tavon Austin, WR, Rams (unclear)
- Dee Milliner, CB, Jets (unlikely)
- Chance Warmack, G, Titans (unlikely)
- D.J. Fluker, OT, Chargers (the Chargers announced they’ve picked uphis option)
- DJ Hayden, CB, Raiders (unlikely)
- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Jets (expected)
- Star Lotulelei, DT, Panthers (the Panthers picked uphis option)
- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Saints (was the first player to have his option picked up)
- E.J. Manuel, QB, Bills (unlikely)
- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Steelers (unclear)
- Eric Reid, S, 49ers (option or extension)
- Justin Pugh, OL, Giants (the Giants have picked up his option)
- Kyle Long, OL, Bears (the Bears announced they have picked up the option)
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals (the Bengals announced they have picked up the option)
- Desmond Trufant, CB, Falcons (the Falcons announced they have picked up the option)
- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Vikings (expected)
- Bjoern Werner, DE, Colts (was cutby the Colts last month)
- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Vikings (expected)
- Datone Jones, DE, Packers (unclear)
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans (the Texans exercisedthe option on Hopkins’ contract)
- Sylvester Williams, DT, Broncos (unclear)
- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings (unlikely)
- Alec Ogletree, LB, Rams (expected)
- Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys (expected)
- Matt Elam, S, Ravens (unlikely)