Aaron Nagler and Michael Cohen discuss the selection of safety Josh Jones and what it means for the secondary going forward. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers never had exercised a fifth-year option on one of their first-round picks since the option became part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.
Of course, they never had a first-rounder like safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during that span, either.
The Packers officially picked up the fifth-year option on their Pro Bowl safety Monday, according to two sources, marking the first time the team used the tactic to add another year to their first-rounder's contract.
The Packers had until Wednesday to decide whether to add the fifth year (2018) to Clinton-Dix's contract.
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Previously, the Packers had declined the option on Derek Sherrod (2011), Nick Perry (2012) and Datone Jones (2013), allowing each to become unrestricted free agents after four seasons. The fifth-year option is included in every first-rounder's contract, but teams that exercise it have to guarantee a salary about four times what the player was scheduled to make in his fourth season.
As a result of the option, Clinton-Dix will receive around $6 million in 2018, all of which is guaranteed against injury. Clinton-Dix is scheduled to make $1.55 million during the 2017 season.
The downside for Clinton-Dix is that he no longer has a shot at free agency after this coming season. Given he made the Pro Bowl in just his third season, he had a chance to strike it big in the open market.
However, he will be able to start negotiations on an extension at a far higher starting point than he would have this year were he heading into the final year of his contract.
So far, approximately 20 players from the 2014 NFL draft have received the fifth-year option, including the Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., the Rams' Aaron Donald, the Steelers' Ryan Shazier, the Ravens'. C.J. Mosley and the Raiders' Kahlil Mack. Cowboys guard Zach Martin received a lucrative contract extension before the team had to make a decision on the option.
Clinton-Dix started all 16 regular-season games -- playing all 1,029 snaps on defense plus 121 on special teams -- and all three postseason games. He finished second on the team in tackles with 83 and had a career-high five interceptions, including two in a game twice. He was named to his first Pro Bowl, becoming the first Packers safety since Nick Collins to make the team in 2010.
Clinton-Dix was the 21st pick in the 2014 draft and played in all 16 games, including 10 starts. He has started 42 straight regular-season games and has 295 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks, eight interceptions, 24 pass break-ups and two forced fumbles. He has three interceptions and 11 pass break-ups in seven postseason games.