The Detroit Lions have until next Monday (May 4) to decide whether they want to extend 2017 first-round pick Jarrad Davis for an extra year. Teams are given the option to extend the rookie contract of first-round picks for a fifth-year option that’s guaranteed for injury and valued at varying salaries depending on position and when the player was selected.
As the 21st overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, Davis’ fifth-year option would cost the Lions around $10 million in 2021.
As of the last night of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Lions had not made a decision on whether they’ll exercise that fifth year or allow 2020 to become Davis’ final year on his rookie deal.
“I have not,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said when asked if they’ve made a decision.
Davis has struggled to live up to his draft billing in three seasons. In three years, Davis has never finished with a PFF grade over 53. Last year was his worst year by PFF’s standards, ranking 94th out of 99 qualifying linebackers.
With the additions of second-round pick Jahlani Tavai last year and veteran Jamie Collins Sr., this year, it will be hard to justify paying Davis that amount in 2021. However, the contract is only guaranteed for injury. So if the Lions exercise Davis’ fifth year now, but decide after the season they aren’t happy with his play, they can release him with no dead cap. (The new collective bargaining agreement will make all fifth-year options fully guaranteed, but starting with the 2018 draft class.)
In a poll from March, only 28 percent of Lions fans believe Davis should get his fifth-year option.