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Raiders offseason: What to do about fifth-year options?

Key decisions upcoming on Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram

Syndication: The Enquirer
Josh Jacobs
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

There a lot of decisions looming for the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason, starting with the coach and general manager.

But down the road, there are key decisions to be made on the roster involving three players who were supposed to be major foundation pieces. The Raiders had three first-round picks in 2019 and it was supposed to kick start the Jon Gruden era. The results have been mixed and there are strong questions about all three picks for different reasons.

By May, Las Vegas has to decide if they give these three players their fifth-year options (they are at a high price) or allow them to hit free agency after the 2022 season.

The Raiders haven’t exercised the fifth-year option since the NFL implemented it early last decade However, they did give 2018 first-round pick, tackle Kolton Miller a contract extension before the option deadline.

The fact that new leadership will be making these decisions will be a factor as well. They will not be emotionally attached to the players because they didn’t draft them.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams
Clelin Ferrell
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Clelin Ferrell:
The defensive end was the No. 4 overall pick in 2019. He will very likely not be given the fifth-year option. He was a starter for his first two seasons and then became a backup in 2021. He never played more than 30 percent of the snaps in any game this season. It was clearly a draft pick that didn’t work out.

Josh Jacobs:
The running back was the No. 24 pick in 2019. This will likely be the toughest decision and he probably has the best chance of getting his option picked up. But running back value is tricky as new leadership may not want to commit big to the position. Jacobs has had some durability issues (he’s missed six games in his career) but he did finish this season strong. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

NFL: Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders
Johnathan Abram
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Abram:
An argument can be made either way for Abram. He did make some strides in 2021, but he still has some issues, especially in coverage. He is basically an average starter but he is a good locker-room presence and he wants to win. Abram also has durability issues, he has missed 21 games in his career. It’s not an easy call.