The deadline for teams to pick up the fifth-year contract options of their 2014 first-round picks has come and gone.
This year’s crop comes with almost as many no-brainer decisions as it does head-scratchers as teams weigh out injury concerns, proven production, and potential.
As each former first-rounder carries a different blend of factors, we place ourselves in the minds of each front office and take a look at what the decisions – to exercise or decline fifth-year options – say about the state of each franchise.
Texans DE Jadaveon Clowney – Exercised
We don’t care about the handful of injuries. This guy is something special.
Rams OT Greg Robinson – Declined
We know. We messed up.
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles – Exercised
On the off chance he ends up being good in 2017, we don’t want to have to pay through the nose for a mediocre quarterback.
Bills WR Sammy Watkins – Declined
Injuries are scary.
Raiders DE Khalil Mack – Exercised
We are still very thankful the Bills didn’t trade up to pick our defending Defensive Player of the Year.
Falcons OT Jake Matthews – Exercised
We would like to keep our quarterback on his feet.
Buccaneers WR Mike Evans – Exercised
Scoring touchdowns is an important part of our offense.
Browns CB Justin Gilbert – No longer on team
We knew a while ago that we messed up.
Vikings LB Anthony Barr – Exercised
With Chad Greenway retiring, we may have found the new leader of our defense.
Lions TE Eric Ebron – Exercised
We’d rather not have to go through the trouble of finding a new tight end. This one is fine, I guess.
Titans OT Taylor Lewan – Exercised
Just because we found our new right tackle doesn’t mean we’re getting rid of the left one.
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. – Exercised
We have eyes.
Rams DT Aaron Donald – Exercised
Our 13th overall pick probably should have been our second overall pick.
Bears CB Kyle Fuller – Declined
One good season out of three isn’t good enough.
Steelers LB Ryan Shazier – Exercised
We found our new Lawrence Timmons.
Cowboys G Zack Martin – Exercised
We’re ready to admit that taking Johnny Manziel with this pick would have been a huge mistake.
Ravens LB C.J. Mosley – Exercised
This is just a formality before we give him a “Raven for life” deal.
Jets S Calvin Pryor – Declined
Well, we just drafted two safeties with our first two draft picks. What did you expect?
Dolphins OT Ja’Wuan James – Exercised
Finding new offensive linemen is a hassle.
Saints WR Brandin Cooks (now with Patriots) – Exercised
If he was a 1,100-yard receiver with one Hall of Fame quarterback, he should still be one with another.
Packers S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Exercised
We know we would get straight laughed at for not keeping Ha Ha.
Browns QB Johnny Manziel – No longer on team
We get it. Don’t take draft advice from homeless people.
Chiefs LB Dee Ford – Exercised
Tamba Hali and Justin Houston aren’t going to last forever.
Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard – Exercised
We might not be able to put up with all of Adam Jones’ crap.
Chargers CB Jason Verrett – Exercised
One awesome season outweighs two injury-riddled ones.
Eagles DE Marcus Smith – Declined
We can still blame Chip Kelly for our roster issues.
Cardinals LB Deone Bucannon – Exercised
This trend of having versatile defenders isn’t going anywhere.
Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin – Exercised
We really don’t have many good receivers.
Patriots DL Dominique Easley – No longer on team
We’re the Patriots. We do what we want.
49ers CB Jimmie Ward – Exercised
We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’re not too concerned about who fills them right now.
Broncos CB Bradley Roby – Exercised
We are aware Aqib Talib is 31 year old.
Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater – Declined
We are quite certain quarterbacks can’t play without their knees.
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