Most 2015 first-rounders still wait for long-term deals

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The fifth-year option is a powerful tool, and teams with 2015 first-round picks who panned out are using it, extensively.

Of the 2015 first-rounders whose fifth-year options were exercised, only one of them — Rams running back Todd Gurley — has gotten a second contract.

All of the others who had their fifth-year options picked up (from Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper to Washington guard Brandon Scherff to Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams to Falcons EDGE rusher Vic Beasley to Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes to Saints offensive lineman Andrus Peat to Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker to Chargers running back Melvin Gordon to 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead to Rams cornerback Marcus Peters to Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor to Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree to Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries to Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson to Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones to Browns defensive back Damarious Randall) continue to wait for long-term contracts.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The league adopted a true rookie wage scale in 2011 in order to prevent busts from sucking millions out of the system. Players who end up earning the big contracts they no longer get are supposed to get them, once they become eligible, after three NFL seasons.

The Rams gave Gurley his long-term contract a year ago, and they probably regret it, given the current condition of his knee. The rest of the first-rounders from 2015 whose options were picked up will have to carry the injury risk for another season, and then either hit the open market or deal with the franchise tag.

One of them — Chargers running back Melvin Gordon — openly has vowed to hold out from training camp unless he gets a new contract. Although players operating under the terms of a fifth-year option face dramatically lower daily fines for skipping camp ($30,000 instead of $40,000), the CBA makes the fine for skipping a preseason game the equivalent of a regular-season game check.

It thus will be interesting to see whether any of these 2015 first-rounders other than Gordon decide not to show up for training camp. Last year, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and then-Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack, both entering their option years, held out through the preseason — and they ended up being the two highest-paid defensive players in league history when all was said and done.

25 responses to “Most 2015 first-rounders still wait for long-term deals

  1. DeVante Parker didn’t have his fifth year option picked up.

    Re-signed with the team, but definitely for less cash than that fifth year option would have been. And rightfully so.

  2. Why would they regret the Gurley deal? They do not win the division the last two years without Gurley

  3. No player should be locked into rookie wages the first 5 seasons of his career (not to mention the franchise tag dance after that). We pretty much know after two years whether a guy is worth big bucks.

  4. “It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

    Says who? The system is working as designed. There’s always a difference in a selling point vs. reality.

  5. Teams would be smart to let these guys walk. Almost all are not worth it. Spend that money on younger and cheaper players. Bye

  6. whysosenestive445 says:
    July 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm
    Why would they regret the Gurley deal? They do not win the division the last two years without Gurley

    ________

    They would’ve had him regardless because of his rookie contract.

  7. Lol as someone else said that’s exactly the way its supposed to be in the owners eyes, that’s why they did it.

    Billionaires don t stay up at night worrying about who they can pay more to than they currently are.

    I remember how they pitched this nonsense about how underpaying players on rookie deals would mean more money for vets – and proceeded to cut vets making money across the league.

  8. the NFL players need to have the MLB players union negotiate for them. These owners are making billions on the backs of thee players and can well afford to pay them what they are worth when they are worth it……….what ever happened to free markets –you know the cornerstone of american capitalism

  9. You better believe those fifth year options are going by by during the next C.B.A. agreement.

  10. by year three ….. if they are worth keeping year four will the the proof to forgo year five and give the player a fair deal … but of course much depends on how many dollars and contract years have been wasted throughout the rest of the roster and if yer paying yer QB zillions instead of just millions … and course too it always comes into play the position the guy does on game day

  11. I have a proposal. Offer 2 kinds of contracts: Non-guaranteed and Guaranteed. Non-Guaranteed deals will be for more money, but the player can be cut at anytime (ie the same system they have now with cap hits, etc.). Guaranteed deals will be for less money, but fully guaranteed and the only way a team gets out of it is to buy out the contract. Remove renegotiation of guaranteed contracts. That way the players get to choose: More Money and zero security or less money and a guaranteed spot on the roster. If a player has a deal and holds out, the team can stop paying them immediately. No more waiting for OTAs to start withholding funds. That keeps both sides honest.

  12. what ever happened to free markets

    —-

    Players are free to go play in he Canadian league, or arena league, or XFL. But I’m sure they’ll find they get paid significantly better in the NFL.

    At some point, the current owners (or their family) took a risk to start or buy a franchise. They’re rewarded for the risk they took. Just because their investments paid off for them, it doesn’t mean they owe their employees a certain amount.

  13. “Players who end up earning the big contracts they no longer get are supposed to get them, once they become eligible, after three NFL seasons.”

    That is not the case. Players are eligible after 3 years for a new contract, however they also have the 5th year option they agreed on. Many of those players noted, have not performed up to their first round billing, hence there is no need to resign them to a big deal but let them play out their rookie contract.
    Guys like Winston, Mariotta, Beasley, Waynes, Dupree, Parker all have’t panned out as planned.

  14. Go back and look. 2015 was just a bad draft. Pats got MBrown, SMason and Flowers. If only Belichick knew how to draft

  15. Most of those 1st round picks are making way more than they are worth on their 5th year. Waynes for sure isn’t worth 9m.

  16. Lot of those guys really don’t deserve break the bank deals. Marcus Peters is guy with so much promise and potential but a Douche from the get go. All rest except Gurlie is worth it. Too bad his knees are not holding up. Class act player.

  17. Gordon should show up at camp and quote Marshawn Lynch. I’m just here so I don’t get fined. Listen to music, play on his phone and do NOTHING the coaches tell him to. Tell the team. “I’m here you can’t find me. You gotta pay me… and know this. I will fumble EVERY ball you put in my hands until I get a new contract.

    Problem solved

  18. (from Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper to Washington guard Brandon Scherff to Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams to Falcons EDGE rusher Vic Beasley to Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes to Saints offensive lineman Andrus Peat to Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker to Chargers running back Melvin Gordon to 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead to Rams cornerback Marcus Peters to Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor to Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree to Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries to Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson to Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones to Browns defensive back Damarious Randall)

    hilarious but seriously limit contracts to 3 years. raise the minimum 1.10 million per year more fair for everybody.

  19. Players are free to go play in he Canadian league, or arena league, or XFL. But I’m sure they’ll find they get paid significantly better in the NFL.

    They should be able to sell their services to the highest bidder just like any other talented individual. sports teams are exempted from anti trust regulations for one reason –the rich and powerful own the politicians.

  20. @colonelkevin Parker did have his 5th yr Option picked up for $10M. He then signed a 2yr $9.5M Deal after Fins let him know they’d cut him before 5th yr Option became guaranteed in March.

  21. The 5th year option works when players are good enough to deserve them. The 2015 first round had maybe 3 players who deserved a 5th year option. It was a terrible draft year. Just the way it works.

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