2021 NFL Offseason: Fifth-year options for 2018 first-round picks

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NBC Sports Chicago Staff
·7 min read
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2021 NFL Offseason: Fifth-year options for 2018 first-round picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books as teams welcome new first-round picks to their roster beginning this week. As fresh faces enter the facility, decisions must be made on the future of the 2018 first-round picks.

The deadline for fifth-year contract options for players selected in the first round of the 2018 draft is May 3 and thanks to a change implemented in the new CBA last year, the deals are fully guaranteed.

Salary options were also changed as players who made two Pro Bowls in the last three years can earn the same as the franchise tag for their position, and players who have made one Pro Bowl and played at least 75 percent of snaps in two of their first three seasons can earn the same as the transition tag.  

Here's a list of what all 32 teams decided to do with their 2018 first-round picks.

Bears -- Roquan Smith

The Bears exercised linebacker Roquan Smith's $9.735 million option on April 27. Smith was the Bears' last first-round pick in 2018. Smith has become a key piece of Chicago's defense, logging 139 tackles, 18 for a loss and a forced fumble and seven pass defensed, and two interceptions in his three seasons with the team. Smith earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2020, despite being a snub from the Pro Bowl.

Packers -- Jaire Alexander

The Packers announced they expect to exercise Jaire Alexander's $13.294 million option on April 26. Alexander was drafted No. 18 pick in the first round and is a budding superstar in the NFL. The shutdown corner tallied 171 tackles (146 solo), 41 passes defenses and four interceptions in three seasons. He earned second-team All Pro honors and made the Pro Bowl in 2020.

Lions -- Frank Ragnow

The Lions exercised center Frank Ragnow's $12.657 million option on April 28. Ragnow was the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He has started 45 total games in three years.

Vikings -- Mike Hughes

The Vikings declined cornerback Mike Hughes' $9.7 million fifth-year option. Hughes was drafted by Minnesota with the No. 30 pick and struggled to stay healthy in his three-year career. He played just 24 regular-season games and was inconsistent when on the field.

Giants --  Saquon Barkley

The Giants exercised running back Saquon Barkley's $7.217 million option on April 28. The second overall selection in 2018 rushed for 1,307 yards in his rookie season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2019, he ran for 1,003 yards becoming the first Giant back to rush for at least 1,000 yards in their first two seasons. Barkley only played in two games in 2020 after tearing his ACL in a Week 2 game against Chicago.

Cowboys --  Leighton Vander Esch

The Cowboys declined linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's $9.145 million option for 2022. Vander Esch made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2018 after Dallas drafted him 19th overall. But Vander Esch has missed 13 games over the past two season while dealing with a neck injury. The Cowboys draft LSU LB Jabril Cox over the weekend and signed former Falcons S Keanu Neal to play linebacker in Dan Quinn's defense.

Washington --  Daron Payne

The Washington Football Team exercised defensive tackle Daron Payne's  $8.529 million option on April 26. Payne was drafted 13th overall by Washington as had become one of the team's best pass rushers. In 47 games, he totaled 166 tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception. Payne has helped solidify a touted Washington defensive line alongside Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and Matt Ionnidis. 

Patriots --  Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel

The Patriots have exercised $10.4 million option Isaiah Wynn and declined running back $4.5 million Sony Michel's fifth-year option for 2022. The Patriots drafted Wynn with the No. 23 overall pick and Michel the No. 30 overall pick.

Panthers (drafted and traded by Jets)  --  Sam Darnold

The Panthers exercised quarterback Sam Darnold's $18.8 million option on April 30. Darnold was the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 and spent three seasons as New York's quarterback before being traded shortly before the draft. Darnold threw for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions with a 59.8 completion percentage in three seasons.

Bills -- Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds

The Bills exercised quarterback Josh Allen's $23.106 million option and Tremaine Edmunds $12.716 million option on May 3. In three seasons in Buffalo, Allen has thrown for 9,707 yards, 67 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. In 2020, Allen was the MVP runner-up throwing for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions and rushing for 421 yards and eight touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl and won the offensive player of the week awards a franchise-record four times during the 2020 season.

Edmunds became a two-time Pro Bowler for the Bills and made 355 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in his three seasons in Buffalo. He also had 24 passes defended, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Steelers -- Minkah Fitzpatrick (drafted by Dolphins), Terrell Edmunds

The Steelers exercised Minkah Fitzpatrick's $10.6 million option on April 27. Fitzpatrick was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Dolphins and was traded to Pittsburgh for a 2020 first and fifth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick. Fitzpatrick was named to the Pro Bowl and earned first-team All-Pro Honors in 2019 and 2020. He totaled 136 tackles, nine interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in two seasons with the Steelers.

Pittsburgh declined Terrell Edmunds' fifth-year option worth $6.7 million. The Steelers drafted Edmunds with the No. 28 pick in 2018. He played in 47 games over the last three seasons totaling 251 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions. 

Bengals - Billy Price

The Bengals won't exercise center Billy Price's $10.413 million option for 2022. Price was the 21st overall pick in 2018 but struggled to produce over his first three seasons in Cincinnati due to injuries and inconsistent play. Price only started 19 games in three years for the Bengals.

Browns -- Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward

The Browns exercised Baker Mayfield's $18.858 million option and Denzel Ward's $13.294 million option on April 23. Mayfield has become the Browns franchise quarterback leading them to the playoffs in 2020. In his rookie season, Mayfield surpassed Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson for the most touchdowns thrown in a rookie season with 27. Mayfield has thrown for 11,115 yards, 75 touchdowns and 43 interceptions in three seasons in Cleveland.  

Ward made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season and has started 36 games for the Browns. Ward has seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and 143 tackles and one defensive touchdown in three seasons as Cleveland's No. 1 corner.

Ravens -- Lamar Jackson

The Ravens exercised Lamar Jackson's  $23.106 million on April 30. 

Seahawks -- Rashaad Penny

The Seahawks declined Rashaad Penny's $4.523 million option on May 3.

49ers -- Mike McGlinchey

The 49ers announced they are exercising Mike McGlinchey's $10.88 million option on April 26. 

Cardinals -- Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen no longer has an option after being traded to and released by the Dolphins.

Broncos -- Bradley Chubb

The Broncos reportedly exercised Bradley Chubb's  $12.716 million option on April 30.

Chargers -- Derwin James 

The Chargers exercised safety Derwin James'  $9.052 million on April 29.

Raiders -- Kolton Miller

Kolton Miller no longer has an option after he signed a three-year extension with the Raiders on March 30.

Colts -- Quenton Nelson

The Colts exercised Quenton Nelson's $13.754 million option on April 28.

Jaguars -- Taven Bryan 

The Jaguars have not made a decision yet on Taven Bryan's  $7.638 million option for 2022.

Titans -- Rashaan Evans

 The Titans declined linebacker Rashaan Evans' $9.735 million option.

Buccaneers -- Vita Vea

The Buccaneers exercised defensive tackle Vita Vea's  $7.638 million option on April 26.

Saints -- Marcus Davenport

The Saints exercised Marcus Davenport's $9.553 million option on April 29.

Panthers -- D.J. Moore

The Panthers announced they will exercise D.J. Moore's $11.116 million option on April 29.

Falcons -- Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst (Drafted and traded by Ravens)

The Falcons exercised Calvin Ridley's $11.116 million and declined Hayden Hurst's $5.428 million option on May 3