Fifth-year option predictions for 2017 NFL draft first-rounders: What's next for Mitchell Trubisky, others?

The 2020 NFL draft may be over, but the league's next decision-making deadline is right on its heels. Come Monday, teams have to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year options for 2017 first-round picks.

A refresher: Rookie contracts for NFL draft picks are four years long, but contracts for players picked in the first round include a team option for a fifth season. That option, if a team wants to use it, must be exercised during the offseason prior to the player's fourth season -- specifically, by May 3 of that year, according to the collective bargaining agreement, though this year it's May 4 because May 3 falls on a Sunday.

So, if a player was a first-round pick in 2017, he's heading into his fourth year, and his team has the right to exercise an option for 2021, which would be his fifth. This option is guaranteed against only injury at the time it's exercised. It becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2021 league year. So, if a team picks up the option this week and decides before next March that it doesn't want the player for 2021 after all, it can rescind the option and make him a free agent.

For first-rounders in the 2018 draft or later, the option will be fully guaranteed at the time it's exercised, per the new CBA. The 2017 first-rounders are the last ones who won't be so lucky.

Anyway, some of these decisions are difficult and interesting each year, and this year is no exception. Here's a look at each of the 32 first-round picks from 2017 and where things stand now, in order of where they were picked:

1. Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns

The 2019 season ended early and ugly for Garrett, who was suspended after striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his helmet during an on-field skirmish on Nov. 14. He has since been reinstated, and there's no indication he's anything but a big part of Cleveland's long-term plans.

Garrett has 30.5 sacks in 37 career games and was establishing himself as one of the game's dominant edge rushers prior to his suspension. The Browns announced Monday that theywould pick up Garrett's $15.184 million option for 2021, and they surely will attempt to get him signed to a long-term extension as a foundation of their defense.

The verdict:Done deal.

2. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

Trubisky is one of the toughest calls on this list. His 2021 option will be $24.837 million and if exercised will be guaranteed against only injury until next March, when it would become fully guaranteed. He has shown flashes, absolutely, but there's no way anyone can claim he has lived up to his draft slot.

The team acquired Nick Foles in a trade this offseason to compete with Trubisky for the starting quarterback job -- a clear sign they aren't sold on him for this year, let alone the long term. On one hand, if the Bears decline the option and Trubisky has a big season, they'll have to pay him a lot more than $24.837 million in 2021. On the other, if they exercise the option and he gets hurt, they could be on the hook for $24.837 million for a player they don't want.

It's a little bit reminiscent of 2015, when Washington surprisingly picked up the 2016 option on 2012 first-rounder Robert Griffin III, left him on the inactive list for all 16 games so he didn't get hurt and then rescinded the option before it became fully guaranteed in March 2016.

Should the Bears exercise the option and Trubisky fail to win the starting job in whatever passes for training camp, a similar situation can't be ruled out. The prediction here is they decline the option, but it's no sure thing.

The verdict: Probably not happening.

3. Solomon Thomas, DE, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco loves its defensive line depth and has drafted a defensive lineman in the first round in five of the past six years. That said, Thomas hasn't emerged as the star the 49ers hoped he would be. He has six sacks, total, in three seasons and started just three games last season.

With the team having just given Arik Armstead a lucrative contract extension, and with 2019 first-rounder Nick Bosa having emerged as the superstar of the defensive line, it doesn't look as if a big financial commitment for Thomas is part of the Niners' long-term plans. Expect them to decline Thomas' fifth-year option.

The verdict:Not happening.

4. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Adam Schefter's pre-draft report that the Jaguars were trying to trade Fournette was a bad sign for his future in Jacksonville. Fournette has been a 1,000-yard rusher in two of his first three seasons, and even added 76 catches to his résumé in 2019, but he has not been an efficient player. His relationship with the team has been rocky at times, and indications are that the Jags plan to move on.

Picking up an $8.5 million 2021 option -- even if it's only injury-guaranteed until next March -- feels unlikely. In fact, when a team is trying to trade a player and can't find a taker, the player quite often ends up getting released.

The verdict:Probably not happening.

5. Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans

Davis was the first of three wide receivers drafted in the top 10. Each of their fifth-year options will cost $15.68 million, which would rank just outside the top 10 in average wide receiver salary leaguewide. Davis is a tough call. He has just six touchdown catches in three seasons and hasn't reached 900 receiving yards in any of them.

A.J. Brown, a second-round pick last year, overtook him as the team's top wide receiver, and Davis missed some time in 2019 due to a hip injury. The Titans didn't draft a receiver in the receiver-rich 2020 draft, which gives Davis hope of remaining in the team's long-term plans. But as they did last year with tackle Jack Conklin, they likely will decline the option, make Davis play out the final year of his rookie deal and see where things stand with him next offseason.

The verdict:Probably not happening.

6. Jamal Adams, S, New York Jets

Adams and the Jets are in a weird spot. He has made it clear he wants a contract extension, and they've said publicly they plan to give him one. But he was extremely upset last year to find out they had fielded trade calls about him, and he's a threat to hold out of training camp if he doesn't have an extension by the time it starts.

Regardless, the Jets on Monday picked up his $9.86 million 2021 option and will likely continue to work on a long-term extension. Whether that extension gets done, the team has no reason not to exercise its right to control Adams through 2021.

The verdict:No doubt about it.

7. Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Williams had 1,001 yards on just 49 catches last season, leading the NFL with an average of 20.4 yards per reception. Yes, he somehow caught only two touchdown passes, but that has the feel of an aberration that should be corrected if they continue to use him the way they have. Outside of his rookie season, when he played just 10 games, he has been pretty healthy.

It's not a complete certainty the Chargers will exercise the option, and they did draft receivers in the fifth and seventh rounds Saturday. But Williams has shown enough that they should at least want the ability to keep him around long term. I'd expect them to pick up his option.

The verdict: Most likely happening.

8. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

Carolina has already signed McCaffrey to a contract extension through 2025.

The verdict:Done deal.

9. John Ross III, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

A combine darling who became a top-10 pick because of his 4.22-second 40-yard dash time and because receivers were flying off the board earlier than expected, Ross has 716 yards on 49 catches across three seasons and hasn't been able to stay on the field. Could this be the year he finally stays healthy and parlays his star potential into reliable production? Of course it could.

But in the meantime, don't expect the Bengals to pick up an injury-guaranteed $15.68 million option on a guy who hasn't been able to avoid injury.

The verdict:Not happening.

10. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Uh ... yeah.

The verdict:Without a doubt.

11. Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints

New Orleans announced in March it was exercising Lattimore's fifth-year option, and it would be surprising if he didn't end up with a lucrative contract extension.

The verdict:Done deal.

12. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

Per a quirk in the system under which fifth-year option salaries are calculated, Watson's fifth-year option will be somewhere around $18 million -- far less than the $24.837 million Mahomes will earn and Trubisky would get if his option is exercised. That's because, under the terms of the 2011 CBA, the options for players picked in the top 10 are calculated differently than for those picked from 11-32. This formula will be changed under the new CBA, allowing for a more equitable calculation that's based on performance and doesn't penalize players picked outside the top 10. Unfortunately for Watson, the new formula doesn't apply to the 2017 draft class -- only to classes 2018 and later.

The Texans would pick up Watson's option even if it were the higher number, and they did so on Monday night for the discount rate. As with Kansas City and Mahomes, Houston and Watson are expected to work on a long-term contract extension.

The verdict: Done deal.

13. Haason Reddick, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona drafted Reddick in part because it thought he'd have versatility. But while the Cardinals tried him in a variety of roles, he hasn't stood out in any of them.

The plan for 2020 seems to be to use him as a third edge-rusher and see if he can be productive in that role. And if he is, sure, they could decide to keep him around next offseason. But he hasn't shown enough yet to convince them to pick up his 2021 option.

The verdict:Not happening.

14. Derek Barnett, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

This is not a slam-dunk case, but Barnett is an Eagles Super Bowl hero who had 6.5 sacks in 14 games last season and turns 24 in June. At about $9.5 million, his 2021 option is more than affordable if he's producing. And because it's not fully guaranteed until next March, the Eagles have little to lose by exercising it. Expect Barnett's option to be picked up.

The verdict:Most likely happening.

15. Malik Hooker, S, Indianapolis Colts

The fifth-year option number for safeties should come in around $8 million, which is affordable, but the issue with Hooker has been his struggle to stay healthy during his first three years. He has shown an ability to be a playmaker in the Colts' secondary when he's been on the field, but he has missed 15 games over his first three seasons, and Indy would be on the hook for the option in the event of a major injury this season.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said before the draft that the team would consider the Hooker issue once the draft was over, and it could go either way. The prediction here is that it gets picked up because the number is so low.

The verdict:Probably happening.

16. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said in February that the Ravens would pick up Humphrey's fifth-year option.

The verdict:Done deal.

17. Jonathan Allen, DE, Washington

With 14 sacks over the past two seasons, Allen is a solid and improving young leader of an underrated defense. Washington announced Monday it had picked up his option, and he's a candidate for a long-term extension as well.

The verdict:No doubt about it.

18. Adoree' Jackson, CB, Tennessee Titans

There are two tough calls for the Titans in this class. Jackson has been at least as significant a contributor in the return game as he has been on defense. But even with Tennessee's second-round pick of Kristian Fulton on Friday night, there has been enough turnover in the secondary that Jackson should continue to have a role. Odds are good that they pick up his option.

The verdict:Most likely happening.

19. O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in February that the team would pick up Howard's fifth-year option. That was before the team traded for Rob Gronkowski -- a deal that intensified the speculation around the league that Howard could be traded. But with the tight end option number coming in under $9 million, picking it up wouldn't hurt Howard's value even if they did decide to move him.

The verdict:Most likely happening.

20. Garett Bolles, OT, Denver Broncos

Denver declined the fifth-year option on three of its five first-round picks between 2011 and '16, so general manager John Elway isn't afraid to admit a mistake and move on. Bolles has started all 48 games since 2017, but he has been a disappointment and likely won't have his option exercised.

The verdict:Not happening.

21. Jarrad Davis, LB, Detroit Lions

Davis hasn't made the impact the Lions were hoping he'd make. The offseason signing of veteran Reggie Ragland doesn't bode well for Davis' 2020 opportunity to prove he's not a bust, and the team likes 2019 second-round pick Jahlani Tavai. At around $10 million, this looks like an option that is unlikely to be exercised.

The verdict:Probably not happening.

22. Charles Harris, DE, Miami Dolphins

Harris has been a part-time player and amassed just 3.5 sacks over three seasons. It would be shocking if the Dolphins picked up his option.

The verdict: Not happening.

23. Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants

Since becoming Giants general manager at the tail end of the 2017 season, Dave Gettleman hasn't shown a lot of love for the players drafted by predecessor Jerry Reese. Engram is the last of Reese's first-round picks, and while he has shown the explosive ability that led the Giants to draft him in the first round, he also has missed 14 games due to injury over his three-year career.

The option, remember, is guaranteed against injury at the time it's exercised, and Engram's injury history is the kind that has led teams to decline options on first-round picks in other years. The relative affordability of the tight end option number gives Engram a chance, as does his high-end ability as one of Daniel Jones' playmaking receivers. I'll predict that the option gets picked up, though it's one of the ones about which I feel the least confident.

The verdict: Probably happening.

24. Gareon Conley, CB, Houston Texans(Traded by LV)

This is the Texans' decision because they acquired Conley last October for a third-round pick. The Houston coaching staff liked what Conley brought to the table over eight games. Houston drafted one cornerback -- Penn State's John Reid in the fourth round -- but at this point Conley appears to have a line on a starting job.

The question the Texans have to ask themselves is whether he's worth the roughly $11 million cost of the fifth-year option for non-top-10 cornerbacks. The prediction here is that they decline the option.

The verdict:Probably not happening.

25. Jabrill Peppers, S, New York Giants (Traded by CLE)

This is the Giants' decision because they acquired Peppers as part of the Odell Beckham trade last March. Declining the option on a player they touted as the equivalent of a first-round pick to justify the Beckham trade wouldn't be a great look for Gettleman, and the safety option number is affordable. Expect this one to be picked up.

The verdict:Most likely happening.

26. Takkarist McKinley, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said at the combine that the team would not be exercising McKinley's fifth-year option. McKinley had just 3.5 sacks in 13 starts last season.

The verdict:Not happening.

27. Tre'Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills

As expected, the Bills exercised White's fifth-year option last week. He's a strong candidate for a long-term contract extension in Buffalo.

The verdict:Done deal.

28. Taco Charlton, DE, Miami Dolphins(Cut by DAL)

Charlton was waived by the Cowboys last season and claimed by the Dolphins, who inherited the fifth-year option along with the contract. Charlton had five sacks in 10 games as a Dolphin, but his disappointing time in Dallas and the fact he hasn't been in Miami long enough for his new team to make this significant a decision on him make it unlikely they pick up the option.

The verdict:Probably not.

29. David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns

The tight end option is among the most affordable, and Njoku's should come in between $6 million and $7 million. The Browns announced Monday they would pick up Njoku's option. There's no significant harm in doing so, and it enables them to keep him on a cost-controlled figure if he emerges as a major part of their offense in 2020.

The verdict:Done deal.

30. T.J. Watt, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

With 27.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles over the past two years, Watt has established himself as one of the league's best defensive players. The Steelers picked up his option on Tuesday afternoon, and at some point in the next couple of offseasons Watt should have a contract extension that places him among the NFL's highest-paid defenders.

The verdict:Done deal.

31. Reuben Foster, LB, Washington(Cut by SF)

Foster was waived by the 49ers in 2018and claimed by Washington, which now has to make the decision on his fifth-year option. He missed the entire 2019 season due to a significant offseason knee injury, and as a result his new team has very little data on which to base this decision.

Add in the fact that the early part of Foster's career in San Francisco was fraught with off-field trouble, and it's unlikely Washington feels good about committing anything to him beyond 2020.

The verdict:Almost certainly not.

32. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, New Orleans Saints

New Orleans exercised its fifth-year option on Ramczyk in March. He's the first player who was selected with the final pick of the first round to have his fifth-year option picked up since the system was established for the 2011 draft.

The verdict:Done deal.

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