NFL

Tough Fifth-Year Options Ahead For 2013 NFL Draft Picks

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The 2013 NFL Draft class is widely regarded as one of the worst in recent memory.  There are many more busts than hits, and there are a lot of players headed into the bust direction.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at some of the tougher decisions for NFL general managers involving their players selected in the first round in 2013.

Eric Fisher, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

It’s not entirely his fault, but Fisher is probably the worst first-overall pick since Sam Bradford.  Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has managed to win despite not getting the value that most people expected out of his former No. 1 pick.

Dorsey, along with many other GM’s, isn’t getting torched because of how poor the entirety of the draft class.

He will have to make a tough decision on Fisher, who will be due $11.9 million in 2017.  His body of work doesn’t suggest that he’d be worth that kind of money, but the former Central Michigan alum plays a premium position (albeit not at a premium level), and it’s likely that the team will try and extend him prior to the end of the 2016 season.

Negotiations should begin with at least $12 million guaranteed.

Luke Joeckel, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars

As bad as Fisher has been in Kansas City, Joeckel has been his dysfunctional equivalent in Jacksonville.  The team paved the way for the former Texas A & M star to play left tackle when they deal away former first-round pick Eugene Monroe in 2013.

Shortly after, Joeckel was lost for the season with a leg injury, and hasn’t been anything close to an elite player since. The team has given him two full seasons at left tackle, but he hasn’t looked the part of a starting caliber player and the Jaguars recently brought in former Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum to compete for the job.

It’s likely that Beachum will beat out Joeckel and the former first-round pick will be moved inside to compete for a starting guard position.

With that said, $11.9 million is a lot to pay for a guard, especially when there’s nothing that tells anyone that he’ll be able to play an inside position when he’s been overpowered on the outside.  The Jaguars will likely let Joeckel explore free agency following the 2016 season.

Ziggy Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions

This isn’t a tough decision at all as the Lions will pick up Ansah’s option if they can’t get a new long-term contract done before.

Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Cleveland Browns

As much of a lock as Ansah’s option is to be picked up, it’s more likely that Mingo’s will not.  He can barely get on the field and the Browns would take a proverbial “ham sandwich” for him in trade.

Jonathan Cooper, OG, New England Patriots

Cooper was recently traded to New England, but he hasn’t proven much in the first three years of his career.  It’s unlikely that his option will be picked up by the Pats.

Tavon Austin, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Austin has always been somewhat of a tease for the Rams as he’s battled injuries and subpar quarterback play.  He has flashed playmaking ability with large stretches of mediocrity.

With the current state of the Rams wide receivers, it’s not a given that Austin’s option won’t be picked up even though he’s obviously not worth $12.3 million.  Our best guess is that the Rams and Austin will come to some sort of an agreement on a contract extension.

Dee Milliner, CB, New York Jets

This is another no-brainer as Milliner hasn’t been anywhere near the player the Jets expected him to be when they selected him with the ninth-overall pick in the 2013 Draft.  There’s virtually no chance the Jets pick up his $11.9 million option and an extension isn’t particularly likely unless he has a Josh Norman type of season.

Chance Warmack, OG, Tennessee Titans

Warmack is going to be one of the tougher fifth-year option decisions in the NFL, as he hasn’t played up to his draft billing, but has still been an up and down player on the interior, worthy of a starting job.

The former Alabama lineman has done his part in the offseason as he’s trimmed up and the team expects him to have a break out season.  If he does, the $11.9 million would be picked up by the Titans or they’ll try and extend him. Although it’s still up in the air and current Titans general manager John Robinson didn’t draft him, it’s more likely than not that Warmack will be a member of the Titans past 2016.

D.J. Fluker, OG/OT, San Diego Chargers

This is another interesting decision for Chargers general manager Tom Telesco.  Fluker was playing out of position at offensive tackle and was much better after being moved to the inside.  Telesco getting a contract extension bodes fairly well for Fluker, as no general manager likes to admit to a mistake.

With his option being $8.8 million, the decision is a little easier for the Chargers.  There’s probably a better chance than not that Fluker is a member of the team in 2017.

D.J. Hayden, CB, Oakland Raiders

It’s highly unlikely that Hayden’s option will be picked up by the Raiders.  He was a reach where they selected him (12th overall), and he’s been criticized for his worth ethic.  It’s an $8 million option, and Oakland likely won’t pick it up, even if they can afford to.

Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets

This is pretty much a no-brainer for the Jets, even with Richardson’s off the field concerns.  He’s a dominant player and prior to 2015, he was widely considered the best player in the 2013 NFL Draft.  He’s a special football player and with an $8 million option, the Jets will absolutely pick it up.

Star Lotulelei, DT, Carolina Panthers

One of the steals of the 2013 draft was Lotulelei, and he was a major reason why the Panthers were in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers only have a $6.7 million decision to make on him, and it’s obvious that he’ll be in their future plans.

Kenny Vaccaro, S, New Orleans Saints

This is another one of the more difficult decisions as Vaccaro has been inconsistent at best during his first three seasons.  Saints general manager Mickey Loomis won’t want to admit to a draft mistake, and at a $5.6 million option amount, there’s a better chance that Vaccaro gets picked up by New Orleans than not.

Unless he has another horrific season like he did in 2014.

E.J. Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills

The prospect of Manuel’s $11.3 million option getting picked up is laughable.  He will likely get another chance to be a backup quarterback somewhere, but there’s no assurance he’ll even make the Bills final roster in 2016.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.