Three years ago, the Chiefs had to choose between tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher at the top of the draft. They took Fisher.
The only good news is that Joeckel hasn’t become a cornerstone left tackle, either.
With fifth-year option decisions on 2013 first-round picks due by Tuesday, May 3, the Chiefs say they won’t make a decision on whether they’ll exercise the option on Fisher until after the draft. (The Jaguars have the same plan for Joeckel.)
“I know a lot of guys have been exercising these options on players right now,” Chiefs G.M. John Dorsey said at a pre-draft press conference on Friday. “I do things a little bit different. Everybody does things differently in the National Football League. I think what I do is, I’m, at times, compartmentalizing a little bit too much. So really, the task at hand, for me, is to make sure we nail this draft. And I think when we get to Monday, we’ll deal with Monday.”
It’s hard not to think Dorsey has at least some idea what the Chiefs will do. By not exercising (or not exercising) the option until after the draft, the absence of a decision on Fisher injects a little uncertainty into their plans for the draft, since they may (or may not) be looking to add another tackle as part of a plan for a future without Fisher.
Besides, with the option salary guaranteed for injury, there’s no reason for the Chiefs (or any team) to pick up the option before the deadline. For the teams that have, they’ve unnecessarily assumed the risk (small as it may be) of a serious injury during offseason workouts carrying into next year.
If the Chiefs decide to pick up Fisher’s option, it’ll cost the Chiefs $11.9 million next year, nearly half of what he will make on the first four years of his deal. Based on his first two years in the NFL, the answer would have been, “Hell no.” He improved enough last year to push the decision toward “hell yes,” especially with coach Andy Reid making it clear that he expects Fisher to make another “big jump” in his fourth season.