Alabama Football: Fifth-year NFL options going well for most Tide players

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Twelve former Alabama Football players were drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. For the four of them selected in the 2018 first round, now is a pivotal time. Their NFL teams will decide whether to exercise a fifth-year contract option written into their first NFL contracts. The decision deadline is May 3.

Already, two of the four players, Daron Payne and Minkah Fitzpatrick have received a fifth contract year from their current teams.

DaRon Payne is one of the Washington Football team’s most important players. Washington has struggled on offense but their defense has been outstanding. Payne is a workhorse for Washington. According to, last season he played in 84.3 percent of Washington’s defensive snaps. Only two other NFL players had more defensive snaps. Payne had 54 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also recovered a fumble and broke up four passes.

The payoff for Payne will be a fifth season in 2022 at $8.5 million. That amount will be fully guaranteed. Also with the exercised option, his 2021 base salary of $2.44 million becomes guaranteed. ‘Pay the man his money’ is a response Payne has earned.

Also getting a fifth season option is Minkah Fitzpatrick. Since being traded from the Dolphins, Minkah has solidified the secondary of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were 10th in the NFL in pass defense when Minkah joined them. The Steelers improved to third over the last two seasons.

Minkah was the No. 11 pick in the 2018 Draft. His 2022 season salary will $10.6 million. In the 2021 season, his base salary is $2.7 million. All $13.3 million are guaranteed by the fifth-year exercised option.

The next guy who will surely get a fifth-year extension is Calvin Ridley. With Julio Jones missing much of last season due to injury, Ridley was the Falcons’ leading receiver. In three Atlanta seasons, Ridley has 217 receptions for 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns. It has been widely reported the Falcons are looking to trade Jones and his high-dollar contract. At 31, injury concerns will likely push the Falcons to trade Julio. When that happens, Atlanta needs to have Ridley locked in for the future. A fifth-year will gain Ridley $11.1 million in 2022. That will happen unless Calvin gets a multi-year contract extension instead. Either way, his 2021 base salary of $1.966 million is going way up in either 2022 or sooner with a new deal.

The fourth Alabama Football player looking for a fifth-year option is Rashaan Evans. There are mixed opinions on whether the Tennessee Titans will choose to reinvest in Evans. He has not had the success of the other three players. The value of a fifth-year option for Rashaan is $9.7 million.

Next. Nick Saban and $1.25 billion in NFL earnings. dark

For the best of the best who play Alabama Football, the NFL financial rewards can guarantee extraordinary career earnings.