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21 fifth-year options picked up for 2018 first-round picks

FMIA's Peter King talks to Dan Patrick about which teams improved following the 2021 NFL Draft, and the state of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

The deadline for NFL teams to exercise their fifth-year contract options on 2018 first-round picks passed on Monday afternoon and 21 players had those options picked up.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is part of that group. Carolina traded for Darnold last month and announced their decision on his option after the draft.

That total is higher than it was in either of the last two seasons despite the fact that the salaries for the option years are guaranteed at the time the option is picked up. Before the adoption of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the options were guaranteed against injury only.

All of the first nine selections had their options picked up, but No. 10 pick Josh Rosen had none to exercise as he was released by the Dolphins after they picked him up in a trade with Arizona. Raiders left tackle Kolton Miller also had no option as the team has already signed him to a contract extension.

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was the No. 19 pick and highest pick to have his option declined. He and the other eight players who had their options declined are now on track for free agency after the 2021 season. The full list of decisions appears below:

1. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, Browns — Exercised.

2. Running back Saquon Barkley, Giants — Exercised.

3. Quarterback Sam Darnold, Panthers (Drafted and traded by Jets) — Exercised.

4. Cornerback Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised.

5. Linebacker Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Exercised.

6. Guard Quenton Nelson, Colts — Exercised.

7. Quarterback Josh Allen, Bills — Exercised.

8. Linebacker Roquan Smith, Bears — Exercised.

9. Tackle Mike McGlinchey, 49ers — Exercised.

10. Quarterback Josh Rosen, Cardinals — N/A

11. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (Drafted and traded by Dolphins) — Exercised.

12. Defensive tackle Vita Vea, Buccaneers — Exercised.

13. Defensive tackle Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised.

14. Defensive end Marcus Davenport, Saints — Exercised.

15. Tackle Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A

16. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Bills — Exercised.

17. Safety Derwin James, Chargers — Exercised.

18. Cornerback Jaire Alexander, Packers — Exercised.

19. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys — Declined.

20. Center Frank Ragnow, Lions — Exercised.

21. Center Billy Price, Bengals — Declined.

22. Linebacker Rashaan Evans, Titans — Declined.

23. Tackle Isaiah Wynn, Patriots — Execised.

24. Wide receiver D.J. Moore, Panthers — Exercised.

25. Tight end Hayden Hurst, Falcons (Drafted and traded by Ravens) — Declined.

26. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Falcons — Exercised.

27. Running back Rashaad Penny, Seahawks — Declined.

28. Safety Terrell Edmunds, Steelers — Declined.

29. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan, Jaguars — Declined.

30. Cornerback Mike Hughes, Vikings — Declined.

31. Running back Sony Michel, Patriots — Declined.

32. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Ravens — Exercised.