The NFL’s fifth-year option deadline is quickly approaching, as teams have until May 2 to pick up the 2023 salaries of their 2019 first-round picks. While the Los Angeles Rams won’t have an option to exercise, there are still four options to monitor in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks need to decide on Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, and Noah Fant/L.J. Collier, respectively.
Predicting NFC South fifth-year option decisions
The Cardinals, 49ers, and Seahawks need to determine whether or not to pick up the guaranteed salaries of their former first-round picks.
The Seahawks have two decisions to make following the Russell Wilson trade, as Seattle acquired 2019 first-round TE Noah Fant from the Denver Broncos in the deal.
Fifth-year option: QB Kyle Murray
The first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft will assuredly have his fifth-year option picked up. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback will make $29.7 million on the option. While he’s made his desire for a long-term contract extension known, the Cardinals are likely to pick up his option before going back to the negotiating table. Doing so gives Arizona leverage because Murray will have two years left on his deal.
Murray is an ascending player and should be a franchise QB for years to come. That said, a stand-off with the Cardinals could come sooner than expected, especially with all of the QB movement over the past couple of years.
San Francisco 49ers
Fifth-year option: DE Nick Bosa
Well, duh. Bosa has been sensational through his first three seasons with the 49ers. While a long-term contract extension seems to be on the horizon, Bosa’s fifth-year option will probably be picked up first. Bosa is coming off a 15.5-sack season, and he’s produced 24.5 sacks in 35 career games.
Just 24, Bosa is positioned to be a top-tier pass rusher for years to come. Like his brother in LA, Bosa is likely to sign a market-setting deal in the very near future.
Fifth-year option: DE L.J. Collier
Unlike Bosa, Collier has not lived up to his draft pedigree. He has produced just 32 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 pass breakups through three seasons. Last year, Collier managed just 1 solo tackle and a pass breakup in 10 games. This is another major swing and miss for the Seattle front office.
Fifth-year option: TE Noah Fant
Update: The Seahawks have officially picked up Noah Fant’s fifth-year option, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Fant was one of the three veteran players acquired from the Broncos in the blockbuster trade for Wilson in March. Part of Fant’s appeal was his fifth-year option, as it costs just $6.9 million. That’s a massive bargain for starting tight end in the NFL based on the market that’s developed over the past couple of years.
Through three seasons, Fant has been solid but not spectacular. He has produced 170 catches for 1,905 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t eye-opening, but they’re enough to make the Seahawks feel good about picking up his option.