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Declined 5th year options for the 2020 class will make for a crazy free agency period

Some decisions which were made on several big name players will make for an interesting free agency period following the 2023 season.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

The NFL calendar continues to creep along, and while everyone is focused on the 2023 NFL Draft, and the wake it leaves in its path, one aspect of the spring which doesn’t get nearly as much discussion are team’s decisions on their first round draft picks.

Yes, the 5th year option.

This offseason teams who had a first round pick in the 2020 draft will have to make a decision on whether they are exercising that option, or declining it. What is a 5th year option? Here is a breakdown...

According to, the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for teams to exercise a fifth-year option for players drafted in the first round as an addition to the standard four-year rookie contract. Upon being exercised, the fifth-year option is fully guaranteed, and any base salary in the player’s fourth year that was not fully guaranteed will become so. The fifth-year salary is calculated based on four tiers: Basic, playtime, one Pro Bowl, multiple Pro Bowls.

So, with all that being said, below is a list of players who have already had their 5th year option picked up. Most of these players, especially quarterbacks, are due major pay days, but will be under contract for the next year regardless of contract negotiations.

Options Picked Up

No. 1 overall pick: Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

No. 5: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins

No. 6: Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

No. 7: Derrick Brown, DT, Carolina Panthers

No. 10: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Cleveland Browns

No. 13: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No. 15: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

No. 16: A.J. Terrell, CB, Atlanta Falcons

No. 17: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

No. 22: Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

No. 25: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

As for those players who didn’t have their options exercised, after the 2023 season they will have their option to make. They can negotiate with the team who drafted them before the start of the new league year, or they can hit free agency and try and find a new NFL home.

The players who didn’t have their option picked up has quite a few big names on it...

Options Not Picked Up

No. 2 overall pick: Chase Young, DE, Washington Commanders

No. 9: CJ Henderson, CB, Carolina Panthers

No. 14: Javon Kinlaw, DT, San Francisco 49ers

No. 23: Kenneth Murray Jr., ILB, Los Angeles Chargers

No. 24: Cesar Ruiz, C, New Orleans Saints

No. 27: Jordyn Brooks, ILB, Seattle Seahawks

No. 28: Patrick Queen, OLB, Baltimore Ravens

As fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the organization doesn’t have a decision to make this offseason based on the fact they didn’t have a first round pick in 2020. That was the pick which was traded to the Miami Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick. In that draft the Steelers selected Chase Claypool with their first pick, in the 2nd Round.

However, are there any players who could possible be hitting free agency after this season you would like the Steelers to kick the tires on? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the 2023 NFL offseason.