The Top 10 of the 2017 NFL draft had some notable misses.
That’s why half of the Top 10 picks had their fifth-year options declined. Generally speaking, a player who has performed up to expectations will have his fifth-year option picked up, while a player who has fallen short will have his option declined. And by that measure, half of the Top 10 fell short.
Second overall pick Mitch Trubisky, third overall pick Solomon Thomas, fourth overall pick Leonard Fournette, fifth overall pick Corey Davis and ninth overall pick John Ross all had their options declined. First overall pick Myles Garrett, sixth overall pick Jamal Adams, seventh overall pick Mike Williams and 10th overall pick Patrick Mahomes all had their options picked up. Eighth overall pick Christian McCaffrey got a contract extension before the fifth-year option deadline.
Top 10 picks have more expensive fifth-year options than picks 11-32. The fifth-year salary for Top 10 picks is equal to the average of the 10 highest salaries at that player’s position, whereas for players 11-32, the fifth-year option is the average of the third through 25th highest salaries at the position. For example, Mahomes’ fifth-year option is $24.8 million, while 12th overall pick Deshaun Watson‘s fifth-year option is $17.5 million. That means Top 10 picks have to really produce for their options to be worth it.
Looming over the 2017 draft Top 10 is Mahomes, who through three years already has both a regular season MVP and a Super Bowl MVP to his credit. If they’re being honest, all nine teams that passed on Mahomes would say they regret it. But the five teams who passed on Mahomes just to draft a player whose option wasn’t picked up are the ones really kicking themselves.