In 2014, three years after the NFL announced it's 10-year collective bargaining agreement [CBA], the St. Louis Rams exercised a fifth year option on their first round selection from the 2011 NFL Draft: defensive end Robert Quinn. The move to lock in the league’s best 4-3 edge rusher at the age of 23 was a no-brainer.
This year, the Rams [along with every other NFL team] will have to make a decision on whether or not to exercise that option on their 2012 first round picks. That player, for the Rams, is defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
As an aside, the Rams owned the second overall pick in 2012, but the Redskins traded up [from the 6th spot] to grab Robert Griffin III. You’ve probably heard of that trade. The Rams wouldn’t stick at six either. The Cowboys, enamored by cornerback Morris Claiborne, moved up to claim their guy. Brockers, like Quinn, was ultimately selected in the 14th spot.
And that certainly impacts his payday come his fifth year in the NFL...
A quick refresher on how it works, from the 300+ page document:
The team must provide the player with written notice of their intent to extend for a fifth year at some point between the final regular season game [of the player’s third year] and May 3rd of the following league year...essentially prior to the onset of their fourth year in the league.
The option pays players selected in the first ten picks of the draft the transition tag tender -- or a one year contract equal to the average salary of the top ten players at the position. For players selected 11-32, like Brockers , his option would pay the average salary of the 3rd-25th highest paid players [at DT].