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Packers highly unlikely to exercise 5th-year option on Sherrod

Mar. 25, 2014
 
The Green Bay Packers selected offensive lineman Derek Sherrod in the first round of the 2011 draft. File/Press-Gazette Media
The Green Bay Packers selected offensive lineman Derek Sherrod in the first round of the 2011 draft. File/Press-Gazette Media
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There is no reason to think the Packers will even consider exercising the fifth-year option on their 2011 first-round draft pick, Derek Sherrod, by the May 3 deadline.

As part of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement signed in ’11, all first-round picks have to sign four-year contracts with a fifth-year team option at a salary based on a formula of the highest-paid players at that position. This is the first time the fifth-year option is in effect, and the deadline for exercising it for the '11 first-round draft class runs through May 3.

Once a team exercises the option, the player’s fifth-year pay in 2015 is guaranteed for injury. If he’s on the roster at the beginning of the ’15 league year, it’s guaranteed fully.

The NFL hasn’t released the option salaries, but overthecap.com’s rough estimate is about $8.8 million for offensive linemen such as Sherrod. If that number is within even a few million dollars of the actual option-year salary, it’s prohibitive for a player the Packers have hardly seen on the field in his three seasons in the league.

Sherrod didn’t play much his rookie year of ’11 and sustained a broken lower leg late that season that took nearly two years to heal well enough for him to return to football. He finished last season on the 53-man roster but played only six offensive snaps, and this year he probably will be the swing backup behind David Bakhtiari at left tackle and Bryan Bulaga at right tackle.

The salaries for the fifth-year options are based on position and calculated similarly to the transition tag. In fact, for the first 10 picks of the first round, the option salary is the transition tag in the fourth year of the player’s contract.

So for the ’11 draft class, which is entering its fourth season, the option for ’15 is this year’s transition tag. The transition tag is determined by taking the average of the 10 highest cap figures from the previous season at a position, calculating the percentage of the salary cap it used, and using that percentage of this year’s cap for the transition salary.

For the rest of the first round – the option applies only to first-round picks – the fifth year salary is the cap percentage of the average of the third- through 25th- highest paid players last season at a given position.

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