Fifth-year options to be guaranteed in proposed CBA, no longer tied to draft slot

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In the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed to by the NFL ownership on Thursday, fifth-year options for former first-round picks would become fully guaranteed when exercised by the team.

All first-round picks signs four-year contracts with a team option for the fifth season. Those options have to be exercised after the player’s third full season in the NFL. According to the fact sheet about the proposal sent to players and agents by the NFLPA Thursday evening, exercising the fifth-year option would result in the fourth and fifth years of the deal becoming guaranteed. Under the current CBA, the fifth-year option is currently guaranteed for injury only.

Additionally, the value of the option itself is no longer tied specifically to draft position and escalators exist for the option to increase based on the performance of the player. For instance, a player that makes the Pro Bowl twice in his first three season would see the valuation of the option increase to the level of the franchise tag for his position. As it currently sits, players in the top 10 picks of the draft have their option value set at the transition tag amount for their position. Picks 11-32 in the first round get a value equal to an average of the third-to-25th ranked salaries for their position.

With the fact sheet saying the option compensation is no longer tied to draft slot, it would seem likely that all 32 picks in the first round would get the initial transition tag valuation for the option year unless they perform well enough to increase the amount to franchise tag levels.

5 responses to “Fifth-year options to be guaranteed in proposed CBA, no longer tied to draft slot

  1. Not much of a concession by the owners. They can still keep a first round pick from free agency for 6-7 years with one or two uses of the franchise tag.

  2. Another positive move, it appears to me. Players seem to have done well.

    The biggest issue to me is the way the new CBA transitions current players from old contracts. Players signed last year and two drafts ago would be very interested in this provision.

    Old timers (relatively speaking) like JJ Watt are against the new CBA and will be voting against it. What is in the CBA about retirement and helping those passed their second huge contracts? Obviously, the old timers don’t care about this provision and several other sections which have seemingly been improved for the new players.

  3. this would reduce the chances the player gets a new deal earlier than they do now.

    in other words, 1st rd picks could be laid less by 1 more year than they really should

    the 1st rd pick and 4 years seems about right so this hurts the players leverage especially if you outperform the rookie deal right out of the gate. the team can go a full 5 years of underpaying the draft pick and then walk, as opposed to 4

  4. Doesn’t really matter. If the player performs, they’ll just sit out for a bigger contract than play on the 5th year option.

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