Once the 2014 regular season ends, players drafted in 2012 will become eligible for new contracts. By May 3, teams holding the rights of first-round picks must decide whether to extend their rookie deals for a fifth year.
Based on the performance of the first 10 players taken in 2012, there’s a good chance more than half of them won’t have their contracts extended. Here’s a look at each of them.
1. Andrew Luck, Colts: The option definitely will be exercised. Based on how the Colts dealt with Peyton Manning, Luck presumably won’t get a long-term deal until he completes his rookie contract and has the franchise tag applied.
2. Robert Griffin III, Washington: As of right now, it’s not looking good. To say the least.
3. Trent Richardson, Colts: Traded from the Browns after one season and still disappointing in his second year in Indy, the Colts most likely won’t extend Richardon’s deal.
4. Matt Kalil, Vikings: Solid at times and spectacularly bad in big moments, there’s a strong belief that the Vikings won’t extend Kalil’s contract. Just like they didn’t extend Christian Ponder’s.
5. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars: His option won’t come due in May because his rookie deal has been tolled by a suspension that has lasted more than a calendar year.
6. Morris Claiborne, Cowboys: He had fallen out of favor — and out of the starting lineup — before suffering a season-ending injury. Dallas undoubtedly will pass.
7. Mark Barron, Rams: Traded from Tampa at the October deadline, the Rams most likely won’t be inclined to make the investment necessary to keep him from the open market after four seasons.
8. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: This could be the toughest decision for any team in the top 10. Tannehill has been good but not great. Productive but erratic. Still, if they let him go after four seasons, who will the quarterback be? That’s probably enough to swing the pendulum to yes.
9. Luke Kuechly, Panthers: Yes, without question.
10. Stephon Gilmore, Bills: A solid contributor but not yet a star player, it could be more of an investment than the team wants to make. Especially if there’s a new coach or G.M. after the season.
To summarize, Luck and Kuechly are locks. Tannehill is likely to get the option. Beyond that, who knows?