What’s the NFL Fifth-Year Option? Value, Criteria, Deadline

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass
(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Colton Pool @CPoolReporter Jan 25, 2023, 6:32 PM
  • Players drafted in the first round have a fifth-year option on their contracts.
  • How much that fifth-year option is worth depends on multiple factors.

As teams increase their NFL odds of winning a Super Bowl, key players on rookie contracts can be extremely helpful with roster construction.

But those contracts only last so long, which forces franchises to make critical decisions about how to move forward.

What’s the Fifth-Year Option?

The fifth-year option on rookie contracts gives teams the choice to extend that deal from four years to five.

All drafted rookies sign four-year deals when they enter the league.

Only players drafted in the first round have fifth-year options.

How Much is a Fifth-Year Option?

According to Over the Cap, the money paid out for a rookie contract fifth-year option depends on a tier system. Which tier a player falls under depends on playing time and Pro Bowl selections.

For example, Packers quarterback Jordan Love has played in just 10 games with one start in his career thus far. That means he would be eligible for a fifth-year option that would be the average of the third- to 25th-highest paid salaries at quarterback over the past five seasons. 

The fifth-year option for quarterbacks in this tier drafted in 2019 would’ve been $19.6 million.

Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is another example. He would be in the top tier because he’s earned a spot in multiple Pro Bowls.

Jefferson’s fifth-year option would become the equivalent of a franchise tag which factors in the average of the top five salaries of his position. The franchise tag value for wide receivers in 2023 is expected to be about $19.9 million. 

Fifth-Year Option Deadline in 2023

Teams must decide whether they will exercise the fifth-year options for the contracts of first-round selections in the 2020 NFL Draft by May 1, 2023. Teams could begin making that decision on Jan. 9, 2023.

2020 NFL Draft Picks Eligible for Fifth-Year Option in 2023

PickPlayerDraft TeamPosition
1Joe BurrowBengalsQB
2Chase YoungCommandersDE
3Jeff OkudahLionsCB
4Andrew ThomasGiantsT
5Tua TagovailoaDolphinsQB
6Justin HerbertChargersQB
7Derrick BrownPanthersDT
8Isaiah SimmonsCardinalsLB
9C.J. HendersonJaguarsCB
10Jedrick Wills Jr.BrownsT
11Mekhi BectonJetsT
12Henry Ruggs IIIRaidersWR
13Tristan WirfsBuccaneersT
14Javon Kinlaw49ersDT
15Jerry JeudyBroncosWR
16AJ TerrellFalconsCB
17CeeDee LambCowboysWR
18Austin JacksonDolphinsT
19Damon ArnetteRaidersCB
20K'Lavon ChaissonJaguarsDE
21Jalen ReagorEaglesWR
22Justin JeffersonVikingsWR
23Kenneth MurrayChargersLB
24Cesar RuizSaintsC
25Brandon Aiyuk49ersWR
26Jordan LovePackersQB
27Jordyn BrooksSeahawksLB
28Patrick QueenRavensLB
29Isaiah WilsonTitansT
30Noah IgbinogheneDolphinsCB
31Jeff GladneyVikingsCB
32Clyde Edwards-HelaireChiefsRB

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About the Author

Colton Pool

Read More @CPoolReporter

Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.

Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.