NFL teams benefit from a collectively bargained rookie wage scale that provided clubs with a fifth-year option for all first-round selections. The deadline to pick up those options is prior to May 3 following the player's third season, per the CBA.
With the deadline for 2015 first-round picks to have their 2019 options picked up quickly approaching, let's take a rundown of the players who have had their option exercised and who is still twisting in the wind:
No. 3 pick Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Jacksonville Jaguars:Not exercised. Fowler's career got off to a rough start, tearing an ACL during rookie minicamp. He never quite recovered, giving way to Yannick Ngakoue and others on a talented defensive line. Accordingly, the Jaguars decided against exercising Fowler's fifth-year option and the $14.2 million price tag that it carries. Fowler could still remain with the team past 2018, but it will require a new contract.
No. 5 pick Brandon Scherff, G, Washington Redskins:Picked up. The road-grating interior lineman will make $12.525 million in 2019, a figure that would currently sit No. 2 among all guards. With the injuries to the offensive line last season, there was no way the Redskins weren't picking up Scherff's option.
No. 6 pick Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets:Picked up. Once part of a star-studded trio that included Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, Big Cat Williams is the only man left riding with Gang Green. In three seasons, Williams has compiled 178 tackles and 12 sacks as a pocket-pushing lineman.
No. 7 pick Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears:Not exercised. After White played in just five games over three seasons, the Bears decided not to exercise his option. Chicago got slightly burned by forgoing Kyle Fuller's fifth-year option last year, but given White's injury history and price tag ($13.924 million), not committing more time and money to the wideout seems the logical move.
No. 9 pick Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants:Not exercised. After attempting and failing to trade Flowers during the draft, Mike Garafolo's report that the Giants will not exercise the offensive tackle's fifth-year option comes as little surprise. The option would have cost New York $12.5 million to pick up.
No. 10 pick Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams:Picked up. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year and rushing touchdowns leader is going nowhere. The Rams will gladly pick up the $9.63 million option for their offensive engine. The question is how much Gurley will eventually make on an extension, or whether he'll have to play the franchise tag game like Le'Veon Bell to get paid long-term.
No. 11 pick Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota Vikings:Picked up. The Vikes picked up the $9.069 million option for the physical corner. Waynes improved last season as a full-time starter. It's fair to wonder, however, if Minnesota drafted his eventual replacement in 2018 first-round pick Mike Hughes. The Vikings could ride the next two years with Waynes and then let him walk in free agency in 2020.
No. 13 pick Andrus Peat, OL, New Orleans Saints:Picked up. Peat's versatility makes his $9.232 million option a good bet. The guard is coming off ankle surgery after suffering a break in the Saints' first-round playoff victory but is expected to be ready for training camp. Peat enjoyed a great 2017 campaign helping lead the Saints' rejuvenated rushing attack.
No. 14 pick DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins:Picked up. After trading Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins made the move to pick up Parker's fifth-year option. The enigmatic receiver owns the talent to be a force in Adam Gase's offense, but his inconsistencies have led to some frustration from the coaching staff. If he doesn't improve in 2018, the Dolphins could rescind the option, barring a devastating injury.
No. 15 pick Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers:Picked up. The Chargers jumped at the chance to keep their workhorse back for another season at a rate of $5.605 million -- less than the annual value of 2018 No. 2 pick Saquon Barkley (expected to be around $7.8 million). Gordon has improved his value in the passing game each year and has become a touchdown maker (18 rushing TDs the past two seasons).
No. 16 pick Kevin Johnson, CB, Houston Texans:Picked up. When healthy, Johnson displayed high upside as a shutdown corner. Injuries have tarnished the past two years, however. Johnson has missed 14 games since his rookie season. The Texans would be on the hook for the $9.069 million if those injuries persist.
No. 17 pick Arik Armstead, DE, San Francisco 49ers:Picked up. Armstead's 2017 was cut short by a broken hand, but the Niners opted for the option despite the injury history, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The 24-year-old played just six games in 2017 after competing in just eight in 2016. The 49ers are moving Armstead into a run-stopping role while shifting last year's first-round pick Solomon Thomas into the pass-rusher spot.
No. 18 pick Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs:Picked up. Getting Peters for two cheap years was part of the reason the Los Angeles Rams traded for the maligned but talented corner. Peters option is worth $9.046 million in 2019. He'd be worth much more on the open market. The Rams now have two years to see how the ball-hawking corner meshes with Wade Phillips.
No. 19 pick Cameron Erving, C, Cleveland Browns: Not exercised. The Chiefs traded a fifth-round pick for Erving before the 2017 season. He couldn't crack the regular rotation, playing fewer than 10 snaps in nine of his 13 appearances. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports K.C. won't exercise the $9.6 million option. It would have been flabbergasting if they had picked up that tab on a player who is fighting just to make the roster.
No. 20 pick Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles:Picked up. After almost getting run out of town following two disappointing seasons, Agholor burst out during the Eagles' championship run, leading the team's wideouts in receptions. Given his trajectory after becoming a full-time slot receiver, picking up the fifth-year option, even at $9.387 million, was an easy move for Howie Roseman.
No. 21 pick Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Cincinnati Bengals:Not exercised. At least through his first three seasons, Ogbuehi hasn't converted the potential that made him a first-round selection into results on the field. That forced the Bengals to decline his fifth-year option, allowing him to hit the open market a year earlier than he otherwise would. However, should Ogbuehi manage to put together a solid 2018 campaign, he can cash in next offseason.
No. 22 pick Bud Dupree, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers:Picked up. Ryan Shazier's catastrophic injury didn't give the Steelers pause when deciding to pick up another fifth-year option -- nor should it have. Dupree has been a disappointment through three seasons, earning just 14.5 total sacks. The Steelers, however, are betting the $9.232 million option that the 25-year-old has yet to reach his full potential.
No. 24 pick D.J. Humphries, OT, Arizona Cardinals:Picked up. Humphries has come along slowly in his young career. After sitting out his entire rookie campaign, however, the 24-year-old has gotten progressively better despite injury issues. Humphries is coming off a torn MCL and dislocated kneecap which caused him to miss most of the 2017 season. He's expected to be ready by training camp. The Cardinals are counting on Humphries to lock down the left tackle spot.
No. 25 pick Shaq Thompson, OLB, Carolina Panthers:Picked up. The rangy linebacker has grown into a full-time role, giving Carolina the fastest linebacking corps in the NFL. With Thomas Davis' four-game suspension and looming retirement, keeping Thompson around beyond 2019 will be a growing priority for the Panthers.
No. 26 pick Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens:Not exercised. Another of the struggling first-round receivers did not have his option picked up. Perriman missed his entire rookie season due to injury and has just 43 receptions in 27 appearances, with just four career starts. The Ravens completely remade their receiving corps this offseason, signing Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead before adding a pair of mid-round draft picks. Perriman could get squeezed out of the rotation even if he stays healthy this offseason.
No. 28 pick Laken Tomlinson, G, Detroit Lions:Not exercised. The San Francisco 49ers acquired Tomlinson for a 2019 fifth-round pick before the season. The guard started 15 games for the Niners and fared decently well as a run blocker in Kyle Shanahan's scheme. However, the team ultimately decided against picking up Tomlinson's option.
No. 29 pick Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts:Not exercised. The Patriots acquired Dorsett in a trade for QB Jacoby Brissett. New England then barely used the wideout. Dorsett caught 12 receptions for 194 yards and zero scores in 15 games in 2017. Accordingly, Belichick will not pay the $9.387 million option for Dorsett. FYE: Rob Gronkowski is set to make less than that next year.
No. 30 pick Damarious Randall, DB, Green Bay Packers:Picked up. Traded to Cleveland for QB DeShone Kizer, the Brownsalmost immediately picked up the fifth-year option. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams plans to deploy Randall as a safety, his more natural position.
No. 31 pick Stephone Anthony, LB, New Orleans Saints:Not exercised. The Saints traded Anthony to Miami for a fifth-round pick after he fell out of favor with the coaching staff. The LB appeared in just eight games for the Dolphins, playing sparingly. As a result, Miami understandable felt it imprudent to pick up Anthony's option.
*Fifth-year salaries are determined by draft position. The first 10 picks earn pay equal to the average of the 10 highest salaries at their position. The remainder of the first round is the average of the third through 25th highest salaries at the position. Per the CBA, a player's position is determined by where he took the most snaps during his third league year.