The NFL’s fifth-year option deadline is May 2, and each team in the AFC East needs to make a decision on a 2019 first-round pick. While the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets have some easy boxes to check, the Miami Dolphins might need a moment to think about adding another massive salary to their 2023 docket.
Predicting fifth-year option decisions for the AFC East
The AFC East might be the most predictable division when it comes to fifth-year option decisions. Outside of the Dolphins, the decisions seem pretty straightforward for the division.
New England Patriots
Fifth-year option: WR N’Keal Harry
This is one of the easier decisions in the entire league. Harry has been an epic bust for the Patriots through three seasons, and there’s no assurance he will stick around for Year 4. Harry has caught just 57 passes for 598 yards and 4 touchdowns since arriving in New England with the 32nd overall pick in 2019.
New York Jets
Fifth-year option: DL Quinnen Williams
The former third overall pick is likely a lock to have his $11.5 million fifth-year option picked up. Williams is one of the homegrown heroes on the Jets’ defense and he’s only getting better. Just 24, Williams has already produced 15.5 sacks as an interior pass rusher. He’s also strong against the run. This decision is relatively easy to make.
Fifth-year option: DT Ed Oliver
Bills GM Brandon Beane has already alluded to his desire to pick up Oliver’s fifth-year option this offseason. Through three seasons, Oliver has produced 117 tackles, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 8 pass breakups. Oliver won’t turn 25 until December, and like Williams, he’s an ascending talent worth his $10.8 million option.
Fifth-year option: DT Christian Wilkins
While Wilkins is already 26 and hasn’t put up similar numbers to Oliver and Williams, he’s still a notable homegrown talent for Miami. The only hesitation the Dolphins should have with Wilkins’ option is that they’ve already handed out plenty of money for the 2023 season with their wild spending spree this offseason.
The Dolphins would be wise to sign Wilkins to a long-term contract extension before the fifth-year option hits their books. With an extension, the Dolphins can lower Wilkins’ cap number from $10.8 million to something considerably more cap-friendly.