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Which 2011 first-round picks won’t have the option exercised?

Jake+Locker+Tennessee+Titans+v+Houston+Texans+4hOYVTZ1882l Getty Images

With NFL teams commencing the process of exercising fifth-year options on 2011 first-round picks, the real question becomes which players won’t have the option exercised.

So here’s a look at the candidates for getting the Spalding Smails treatment.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller:  With a six-game suspension last year and a late-season torn ACL, the Broncos possibly would at least consider the possibility of not picking up the option for the second overall pick in 2011.  It nevertheless would be a major surprise if they don’t trigger the option.

49ers linebacker Aldon Smith:  The 49ers reportedly are “very unlikely” to exercise the option on the seventh overall pick, due to multiple off-field issues.  There’s still no downside to using it, since it doesn’t become fully guaranteed until March 2015.  If they’re thinking about trading him, Smith could fetch more in return if his new team controls his rights for two years.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker:  How’s this for an inconsistency?  Locker, the eighth overall pick in 2011, remains on track to be the starter in 2014.  But the Titans aren’t expected to pick up the option.  For the oft-injured Locker, it makes plenty of sense.  Why give an injury-only guarantee to a guy who seemingly has been only injured since he entered the league?  The option for a quarterback taken in the top 10 would by $13 million; that’s more than Locker will make in his first four years, combined.

49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert:  The right to exercise the option was traded to San Francisco along with Gabbert’s rookie deal as the 10th overall pick.  While they could use a little leverage in their looming negotiations with Colin Kaepernick, the notion of paying Gabbert $13 million in 2015 isn’t leverage.  It’s lunacy.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder:  While much cheaper than Locker or Gabbert since Ponder wasn’t taken in the top 10, he’s still on the team only because his salary is low, as veteran quarterbacks go.

Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley:  The Lions already have said that the option won’t be exercised on Fairley, in order to give him incentive to play hard in 2014.  And if Fairley needs the promise of a long-term contract to play hard, why would the Lions want to give him the security of a long-term contract?

Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn:  He had 5.5 sacks in 16 starts last year and 7.5 in 16 starts as a rookie.  But we’ve reported that the Buccaneers are doubtful to exercise the option.

Danny Watkins:  The 23rd overall pick in the 2011 draft was waived by the Eagles last year, and his contract went unclaimed.  With that, the ability to exercise the fifth-year option died.  He currently is a free agent.

49ers receiver Jonathan Baldwin:  Amazingly, the 49ers have three players with fifth-year options, and they’ll quite possibly exercise none of them.  Baldwin arrived via trade last year in exchange for 2012 first-round bust A.J. Jenkins.  Baldwin did nothing last year to merit consideration for a fifth year on his rookie deal.

Falcons offensive lineman Gabe Carimi:  His option evaporated after Carimi’s contract went unclaimed via waivers.  He’d been cut by the Buccaneers after being traded to Tampa by Chicago.  The Falcons signed Carimi as a free agent.

Packers tackle Derek Sherrod:  The last pick in round one from 2011 has appeared in 12 games over three seasons, with zero starts.

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46 Responses to “Which 2011 first-round picks won’t have the option exercised?”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 17, 2014 9:34 PM

    I think Nick Fairley is going to have his best season ever and it’s going to cost the Lions a lot of money. I was really disappointed that they didn’t exercise the option and it makes me very mad. Plus if they trade up for Clowney then that will only make our entire DL a lot more dangerous for many years to come.

  2. bassplucker says: Apr 17, 2014 9:35 PM

    Kudos for the Caddyshack reference.

  3. ariani1985 says: Apr 17, 2014 9:36 PM

    Honestly, they either suck or they are trouble. Wow.

  4. ariani1985 says: Apr 17, 2014 9:39 PM

    Packers, we lol at you

  5. bassplucker says: Apr 17, 2014 9:41 PM

    The only thing that makes me feel a little better about how badly my Bears screwed the pooch by drafting Carimi, is that the Packers didn’t do much better with Sherrod.

  6. tucobenedictopacificojuanmariaramirez says: Apr 17, 2014 9:44 PM

    Nick Fair-thee-well-ly

  7. grandpoopah says: Apr 17, 2014 9:49 PM

    Danny Watkins. SMH

  8. skoldier612 says: Apr 17, 2014 9:49 PM

    Derek. Great work Pack

  9. tucobenedictopacificojuanmariaramirez says: Apr 17, 2014 9:52 PM

    Aldon Smith&Wesson, faux Bomb confessin’, get ta dressin’ (in another uniform…with stripes…and bars).

  10. GenXJay says: Apr 17, 2014 9:53 PM

    Charade Sherrod…lol. These cheesehead trolls and the silly Viking put downs.
    Yet, their favorite “team” couldn’t protect a metro-sexually, possibly gay, diva Qb.

  11. DitkasHair says: Apr 17, 2014 9:53 PM

    Gabe Carimi? What is this the 3rd time in 4 years his name has shown up on PFT? If he gets another Contract for any amount it would be news!!!!

  12. blacknole08 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:00 PM

    I wouldn’t give any of these players a 5th year option. Miller is a great player but he’s coming off an injury and a suspension. And he still has maturity issues.

  13. beerbratscheese says: Apr 17, 2014 10:01 PM

    The Packers may not exercise their option on Sherrod because he’s been hurt. The Vikings won’t exercise their option on Ponder because he sucks.

    skLOL

  14. willjasper says: Apr 17, 2014 10:17 PM

    Why would a team not exercise the option since it doesn’t become guaranteed until March 2015? Seems like a no-brainer. Great year, you already have them under contract at a fixed cost. Sub-par year, cut them and not be liable for any more money.

  15. glennsyank13 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:25 PM

    To be fair, Sherrod has missed just about his entire career to a broken leg his rookie year. Ponder just plain sucks.

  16. jwcarlson says: Apr 17, 2014 10:27 PM

    bassplucker says:
    Apr 17, 2014 9:41 PM

    The only thing that makes me feel a little better about how badly my Bears screwed the pooch by drafting Carimi, is that the Packers didn’t do much better with Sherrod.
    ————————————

    Except Carimi was just bad vs. Sherrod having a freak leg break that has never properly healed.

  17. dishypumpkin says: Apr 17, 2014 10:30 PM

    I remember I was shocked to see Locker, Ponder, and Dalton drafted so high. This is what happens when you reach…

  18. teal379 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:35 PM

    ariani1985 says: Apr 17, 2014 9:39 PM

    Packers, we lol at you

    You do know WHY he was the very last pick in the first round – right?

    OF course not, forgot you’re a Vikings fan.

    See what happens is you pick LAST when you win a Super Bowl. Unlike the Vikings who tend to pick top 10 every year or so.

  19. boyshole25 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:38 PM

    Hahaha ponder. Can’t imagine having him as my favorite teams qb. I’d start watching golf

  20. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:39 PM

    Noodle armed Ponder chick.

    For the win.

  21. MostlyRight says: Apr 17, 2014 10:55 PM

    So if you played well and stayed clean and healthy, no new contract for you. Screw up on or off the field or get injured, someone gives you a new deal. Well done player’s union!

  22. tedmurph says: Apr 17, 2014 10:58 PM

    Nate Solder is an upper tier, but not elite, LT. I don’t think the Patriots exercise their option on him. Especially with the skyrocketing prices of that position.

  23. gearydeniston says: Apr 17, 2014 10:59 PM

    A little context would have been nice, except the truth means nothing to the Packers Haters. Sherrod suffered a severely broken leg in week 15 of his rookie season, missed the 2012 season and the first 9 games of this season. So he was basically starting over for the last seven games of 2013. Not quite as bad as the misleading summary made it out. 12 games out of 22 instead of 12 games out of 48. Those are the facts. We’ll see how he does with OTA’s and training camp under his belt this year.

  24. officialgame says: Apr 17, 2014 11:17 PM

    Danny Watkins was DOA at his first training camp.

  25. jimmysee says: Apr 17, 2014 11:23 PM

    Sherrod has had continuing injury problems including maybe the worst broken leg possible.

    No one can say he’s ever really had a chance to show what he could do.

    All the genius comments here, notwithstanding.

  26. tangysizzl says: Apr 17, 2014 11:33 PM

    So you say Derek Sherrod was the last pick in the first round eh? Gee I wonder how the Green Bay Packers earned that pick?

    That’s right, they won the SB the year before but wouldn’t know anything about that would you Ariani?

    Now that Mr Sherrod is fully recovered from his gruesome leg injury that cost him almost 2 full years, he will get one last chance to show he wasn’t a complete waste of a 1st round pick.

    No holding my breath but there is still a chance.

    How thicke does a Viking fan have to be to make fun of another team’s 1st round pick when they selected Christian Ponder with the 12th pick.

    Now that is funny, well not funny ha ha but funny like you amuse me.

  27. pulpfriction01 says: Apr 18, 2014 12:23 AM

    The difference between carimi and Sherrod is that everybody knows carimi cant play. But until sherrod actually sees the field, nobody knows. The entire green bay team is injured every year.

  28. jayniner says: Apr 18, 2014 12:52 AM

    The Niners will pick up the option for Aldon Smith. Don’t kid yourself.

    But if that kid even farts in the wrong direction from this point on…..later!

  29. Remember Brian Brohm says: Apr 18, 2014 12:55 AM

    Wow, there sure are a lot of Derek Sherrod apologists on here. I guess I’d be willing to cut you some slack on that first-round bust if drafting a bust in the first round weren’t an annual event for you guys. Seriously, your hit rate in the first round is about 20% over the last decade.

  30. jayniner says: Apr 18, 2014 12:57 AM

    And Jon Baldwin? Later bro.

    That’s why we re-signed Brandon Lloyd.

    Good luck in the job search.

  31. bassplucker says: Apr 18, 2014 2:07 AM

    Carimi sealed his fate with the Bears when he opted out of the first OTAs after Trestman took over as HC.

  32. kelleygrn4ever says: Apr 18, 2014 2:08 AM

    Reid LOVED ol Danny boy because he was a “mauler” type… angry disposition… BWAHHAAAHHAAA!!!!

    Andy Reid may be the worst first 3 rounds of the of draft GM in the game. Smart move giving up those duties, FAT MAN!

  33. afcdomination says: Apr 18, 2014 5:16 AM

    its a good thing for the chiefs that they don’t have Reid running that draft this year. I swear, I and every other fan was nervous as heck that my/their team might waste a first round pick on Watkins. how do you take a guy in the first 32 picks who comes into camp DOA? something still very wrong with what should be an extensive enough process to stop these kind of reaches.

  34. stellarperformance says: Apr 18, 2014 6:05 AM

    Picking last in the first round would infer there are fewer improvements required than 31 other teams. Regardless, the Packers OWN the Vikings…….how does that make the trolls feel?

  35. longtimefanhtr says: Apr 18, 2014 8:07 AM

    Sherrod will have his option exercised. He wasn’t a bad pick, just had an awful injury.

  36. atthemurph says: Apr 18, 2014 9:05 AM

    vikings fans trying to make light of any other teams draft picks is quite a bold move considering their team has trouble even getting a name to the podium in the first round.

  37. theworkhorsebackdotcom says: Apr 18, 2014 9:09 AM

    All of the above with the exception of Miller. I would add Fairley, but the Lions want him to show and prove that he deserves this upcoming season.

    All the QBs for sure should not get an option as none of them have asserted themselves as starter material.

    Ponder wasn’t taken in the top ten, but he shouldn’t of been a first rounder to begin with.

  38. rabidboy says: Apr 18, 2014 9:13 AM

    Once again proving that not all first-round picks pan-out and that ALL teams have their fair share of draft failures.

  39. nflpoker says: Apr 18, 2014 10:18 AM

    The ONLY possible use that the Vikings have with Ponder is if another team’s QB goes down and the Vikings can get a 6th or 7th rounder for him in a trade. Maybe that is why they said that Ponder will be around this season. Trade fodder. The Vikings are going to draft a QB, so where does that leave Ponder?? The Vikings are not going to carry 3 qbs. Ponder on the practice squad? LOL LOL.

  40. thefox61 says: Apr 18, 2014 1:21 PM

    And people laughed when the Seahawks selected James Carpenter over Gabe Carimi. Carpenter’s on the same team that drafted him and he’s earned a SB ring. Who’s laughing now?

  41. ps3988 says: Apr 18, 2014 3:18 PM

    I love all the Packer draft mockers on here. They tend to forget that 97% of the team are Green Bay draft picks. And the Pack is probably better than 90% of the teams in the NFL.

  42. emoney826 says: Apr 18, 2014 6:47 PM

    And if Sherrod isn’t picked up for 2015, and if the vikings pick him up, these same hypocrite fans from minesota will be bragging about how great of a pick up he was for them. And why you ask? Because picking up any ex packer is like winning the jackpot for them. They can’t draft well and fail in free agency, so their only way of trying to compete is picking up our players.

  43. victorycruz says: Apr 18, 2014 10:25 PM

    Wow, I’m surprised nobody has said this yet, but Prince Amukmara. He’s an average CB at best, and he’s a pushover that let’s grown ass men throw in a cold tub without sticking up for himself. If the Giants option him he’ll be making more money then DRC, so yeah that’s who I won’t think will make it, especially since the Giants picked up like 4 CB’s

  44. doall24 says: Apr 19, 2014 11:41 AM

    “ponder is still on the team because his salary is low”. LMAO at the vikings, they know stink when they see it.

  45. toddc612 says: Apr 19, 2014 11:38 PM

    My gawd. Can the Vikings just dump Ponder already? As long as he’s on the roster, there’s a chance he might be pranced onto the field. Let’s not have that happen. I’m hopeful Zimmer knows better, but always better to cut ties with the nightmare that has been the past 3 years..

  46. whatjusthapped says: Apr 20, 2014 4:22 PM

    The longer Ponder remains on the Vikings, the better the chances the team will finish in last place, yet again.

    I’m hoping that Spiel-a-dope picks up his option for our viewing amusement. They will use the excuse that they spent a very high pick on him so that want to make sure he gets every chance.

    The irony is that he had plenty of chances and he still sucks.

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