One month left to pick up 2014 first-round options

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One month from today, teams with 2014 first-round picks still playing under their rookie deals have a decision to make: Extend the contract for a fifth year, or let the player enter a contract year.

Several no-brainers dot the landscape, from Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack to Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans to Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Two quarterbacks will dominate the speculation and reporting in advance of the deadline: Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Both teams have said they’ll make a decision closer to the deadline, a position that some have interpreted as an indication that the decision to not pick up the option already has been made.

For Bortles, a top-10 pick, his fifth-year salary will match the 2017 transition tender for quarterbacks. That’s $19.05 million, guaranteed for injury. Which means that, if Bortles emerges from the season with an injury that prevents him from passing a physical before the amount becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the new league year, the Jaguars will owe him that amount for 2018.

Conversely, the Jags could opt not to exercise the option, resolving to use the franchise tag if Bortles finally breaks out in 2017. The downside is that it would cost roughly $3 million or $4 million more to keep him under the franchise tag. The upside is that they would save the $19.05 million if Bortles: (1) doesn’t improve; and (2) tears an ACL along the way.

For the Vikings, the potential investment would be much lower, given that Bridgewater was picked outside of the top 10, where the salary becomes the average of the third- and 25th-highest-paid players at the position. But the bigger question for now is whether he’ll ever play again. With Sam Bradford performing well and entering a contract year of his own, the Vikings may decide to not pick up the option and to take their chances with Bridgewater, who may not draw significant offers on the open market if he isn’t able to return to action in 2017.

As to the other quarterback taken in the first round three years ago, the decision became moot more than a year ago, when the Browns cut the man who instantly flashed the money sign — and never really earned all that much of it.

22 responses to “One month left to pick up 2014 first-round options

  1. Maybe the Patriots will do Jerry Jones a solid and invite Romo for a visit without ever intending to trade for and sign him.

  2. Teddy is not better than Stafford, and Bradford is better than Teddy. This from a Vikings fan, whose seen them all play.

  3. No way would they guarantee $19 mil to Bortles right now

    If he has a breakout season they’d likely negotiate a new contract with more guaranteed money than that

    That’s kindof a big “if” though

    Seems to me next year could see an even higher need for starting QBs than this season (the Browns might want to be paying attention to that)

  4. “Several no-brainers dot the landscape, from Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack to Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans to Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.”

    That guy playing DT for the Rams too.

  5. Bills are considering not picking up the option on Sammy. If they don’t and they considered Sammy a can’t miss product Whaley needs to be fired

  6. Party man Bortles needs to grow up and take this seriously. The Jaguars aren’t going to pick up the 5th year, no way. 19 mill for that guy? Take away his garbage time stats and he’s dirt.

  7. Florio makes it seem like the Vikings have choices at QB. When you think you have choices at QB than you don’t have a QB. You can have either Bridgewater or Bradford, neither is any good past 10 yards.

  8. No brainer to not pick up Bortles option, if he happens to have a breakout year, the Jags should be happy to pay him the extra 3-4 mill for the franchise tag.

  9. No reason to front load the gamble on Bortles. I’m sure the Jags would be happy to owe him an extra 4 million. That means they prob have a franchise QB. There’s just no way to tell how much Gus Bradley’s scheme was hindering him. He has shown lots of flashes and was great in the only two games with Marrone as interim HC.

  10. Arizona will be picking up ILB Deone Bucannon’s 5th year option any day now, AZ most definitely will be looking to lock him down long term. AZ likely signs him to a long term deal during the season or right at seasons end.

  11. “Several no-brainers dot the landscape, from Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack to Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans to Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.”

    That guy playing DT for the Rams too.
    Even with some of the clinkers in the 1st two rounds of the ’14 draft it still has to be considered a decent class if for no other reason than all the trash that came into the league in the the year before.

    And really, what’s so tough about the calls on Bortles and Bridgewater? They are not the future of their respective teams, albeit for two very different reasons but the reasons don’t really matter.

  12. I would like to see an article that sheds light on the fact that based on the current rookie pay scale, A franchise QB is better off getting drafted in the second round once he has slipped outside of the top 7. The Franchise tag is sufficiently greater than the 5th year option scale, so much so that the worst thing that could happen to a true franchise QB is to get drafted last in the first round. Top of the second is ideal outside of the top 7.

  13. Here’s another no-brainer for you, let Bortles and Bridgewater walk.

    Unfortunately Teddy won’t be walking all that well – tough break for the kid.

  14. I know Sammy been hurt but I think it’s a no brainier the bills pick up his option. He has mad potential just gotta stay healthy. Remember he was top receiver touted in that draft. All things considered now I wouldn’t have traded up and just took obj. But I think he’ll have a major impact this year

  15. I hope the Chiefs let Dee Ford play out the 5th year. He had a decent year last year, but hasn’t been a lights out player.

  16. This is an easy decision for the Vikings, let Teddy walk, assuming he is even capable of that given the horrible injury.

    A 5th year extension is a big investment and the stark reality is that the chances of Teddy ever playing again are similar to that of the Vikings winning a Superbowl; Slim and none and Slim just left town.

  17. Vikings organization has some class and generally takes care of its players. I have no doubt the Vikings will pickup Teddy’s option even if he can’t play out of respect for who Teddy is and what he means to the organization.

  18. cribbage12 says:
    Apr 3, 2017 10:12 PM
    vikingf0rlife says:
    Apr 3, 2017 8:14 PM
    Teddy Bridgewater < Bradford <<<<<<<<Rodgers.

    There, I fixed that for you.

    Cribbage you are 100% correct. Rodgers and Brady are the best in the NFL hands down. Being a packer fan must be frustrating that your GM doesn't do more to surround him with players. gb does not need a lot to be in SB. Rodgers should have as many SB wins as NE.

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