Among many roster decisions the Detroit Lions will make in the upcoming months, one underrated decision regards the future of starting center Frank Ragnow. Detroit’s first-round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal, meaning he could potentially earn an extension this offseason.
But before that even happens, the Lions will face a decision on whether to exercise his fifth-year option. While standard rookie deals are four years in length, players selected in the first round are eligible to have fifth year added to their contract, should their team decide to exercise it.
But this year will feature a new wrinkle to the fifth-year option. While in previous years, the value of the option was simply based on where the player was taken in the draft, it now is dependent on performance. Based on snap counts and Pro Bowl appearances, first-round picks can increase their payday for that fifth-year option.
On Wednesday, the NFL sent this memo to teams as a reminder of the rule changes this year:
The NFL reminded clubs today they have until May 3 to exercise fifth-year options on their first-round picks from the 2018 draft — and the value of those options is based on performance, with players selected to 2+ Pro Bowls getting the 2021 franchise tag number. From the memo: pic.twitter.com/Se2oFLCRxB— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 10, 2021
As you can see, fifth year options now fall into four categories: two Pro Bowls, one Pro Bowl, achieved playtime criterion (at least 50% of snaps each of his three seasons OR above 75% in two of three seasons OR 75% of total snaps through three years), and no additional achievements.
So for Frank Ragnow, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2020, he will have a fifth-year option worth $12.7 million should the Lions choose to exercise it. That is up from $10.4 million had Ragnow not received any achievement or $10.9 had he simply met the playing time benchmark.
As noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Lions will have until May 3 to make their decision on the fifth-year option.
- The Lions coaching staff made an appearance at Ford Field on Wednesday:
- Justin Rogers of the Detroit News has a pretty thorough free agency preview for the Lions offense. Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall.
- If you’re looking for an estimate of the Lions’ current cap space given the league’s salary cap has been set at $182.5 million, our own Erik Schlitt has his figure:
I’m not 100% sure where they are today because the chart I keep has moves that haven’t been processed yet.— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) March 10, 2021
But with the Goff trade, Trufant cut, Collins restructure, Ford signing, Williams est. contract, and projecting/adding in the draft class. I have them at:
$777,856 over https://t.co/n7deUVdiW1
- Looking for a Lions free agency big board? The fellas at The Athletic have 30 players to watch for the Lions (subscription required).
- After barely holding onto him last year, the Vikings have released former Lions first-round pick Riley Reiff:
Vikings released veteran OT Riley Reiff, saving about $11 million in salary-cap space.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2021
- The details are out on Mike Ford’s new contract via Over The Cap. The long and short: one-year, $1.2 million with only $400,000 in dead cap if Ford is cut before the season.
- The Lions reportedly sent offensive line coach Hank Fraley to Northwestern’s pro day on Wednesday. Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater is widely thought to be the second best offensive tackle in this year’s draft class behind Oregon’s Penei Sewell.
Teams with NFL O-line coaches in attendance for Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater’s pro-day workout:— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 9, 2021