The big news in the NFL on Saturday afternoon was the number of fifth-year options that were declined by NFL teams.
Four of the first five picks from the 2017 NFL Draft all received word that their 2021 option would not be picked up.
2017 draft class fifth-year options for top 5 picks:
1. Browns DE Myles Garrett: ✅
2. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky: ❌
3. 49ers DL Solomon Thomas: ❌
4. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette: ❌
5. Titans WR Corey Davis: ❌
It’s hard to find a sure thing in the draft.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 2, 2020
As noted by ESPN NFL insider Field Yates, only Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns had his option picked up for the 2021 NFL season. Garrett, who was suspended after his incident with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, was reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Feb. 12.
The Chicago Bears took a risk on Mitch Trubisky by selecting him second overall in the 2017 draft. The former North Carolina Tar Heel started just 13 college football games, throwing for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns. Trubisky was labeled as an accurate passer with a strong arm that pushed teams to wins.
In three seasons, he has thrown 48 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions, while leading the Bears to a 23-18 record. The Bears went out and signed journeyman Nick Foles to compete with Trubisky in training camp.
After the San Francisco 49ers selected Javon Kinlaw with the 14th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, the franchise did not feel that it was necessary to pick up Solomon Thomas’s fifth-year option. The 24-year-old has played in 46 games over his first three seasons, recording 93 tackles and just three sacks. With a defensive line that already boasts Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, 49ers general manager John Lynch made the executive decision on Thomas.
Like Lynch, Jaguars GM David Caldwell felt the same about running back Leonard Fournette. The former LSU Tiger has never played a full 16-game season, playing a career-high 15 in 2019. In three seasons, Fournette has rushed for 2,631 yards to go along with 17 rushing touchdowns.
Instead of earning $15.7 million in 2021, Corey Davis might be looking for a new team. The Tennessee Titans’ fifth overall pick from the 2017 draft caught two touchdowns during the 2019 regular season and one during the playoffs on a pass from running back Derrick Henry. Re-signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill hopes to give Davis some more options during the 2020 season.
As Yates concluded in his tweet, it’s hard to find a sure thing in the draft nowadays.