With the NFL setting the 2021 salary cap number at $182.5 million on Wednesday, we now know more exact amounts that are associated with the upcoming season and a few of those will impact decisions that the Pittsburgh Steelers will need to make this offseason.
The fifth-year option amounts for players who are eligible to have them exercised this offseason for the 2022 season have been established and below is the memo from the NFL that covers that. The Steelers have two players eligible to have their fifth-year options for the 2022 season exercised this offseason and they are safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and safety Terrell Edmunds.
When it comes to Fitzpatrick, who has already made the Pro Bowl twice in his NFL career since being selected 11th overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 NFL Draft, his fifth-year option amount for the 2022 season is now set to be $10,612,000. The Steelers will obviously pick up his fifth-year option by the May 3 deadline. The fifth-year salary, if the option is exercised, then becomes fully guaranteed.
As for Edmunds, who was selected 28th by the Steelers in the 2018 NFL Draft, he has yet to make any Pro Bowls. He has, however, hit the playtime thresholds needed to qualify for the third category of fifth-year option salaries for the 2022 seasons. His fifth-year option amount is thus now scheduled to be $6,753,000 if exercised by the Steelers before May 3. If exercised, his fifth-year option would be full guaranteed. Additionally, Edmunds’ 2021 base salary of $1,938,789 will also become fully guaranteed should the Steelers decide to pick up his fifth-year option by May 3.
While the Steelers fifth-year option decision with Fitzpatrick will be an easy one to make, the same probably can’t be said about Edmunds right now. He did have an improved 2020 season, however, so perhaps the Steelers will decide to exercise his fifth-year option and then go from there. Fitzpatrick, if his fifth-year option is exercised, would then be primed to sign a very lucrative contract extension prior to the start of the 2022 regular season.
Since fifth-year option exercising on first-round draft picks became part of the CBA, only twice previously have the Steelers declined to pick them up. Those two players that had their fifth-year options declined previously were outside linebacker Jarvis Jones in 2016 and cornerback Artie Burns in 2019. Will Edmunds become the third such Steelers player to not have his fifth-year option exercised? We’ll find out for sure by May 3.
Here's the full memo on the price tags of fifth-year options for 2018 first-rounders. As we said, two Pro Bowls in first 3 years = Franchise tag; one Pro Bowl = transition tag.
Deadline to exercise options is May 3. Also, these are now FULLY guaranteed upon execution—big change. pic.twitter.com/vD5u92VSxF
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 10, 2021