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Sheldon Richardson's Fifth Year Option to Be Picked Up by Jets

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Manish Mehta reports the Jets will exercise the fifth year option of defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

The Daily News has learned that the Jets will exercise the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson’s rookie contract by the May 2 deadline before determining their next move with the 2013 first-round pick (13th overall).

Richardson’s fifth-year option will be for about $8 million in 2017 — the average salaries of the third to 25th highest-paid players at his position— per terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.

First round picks get a four year rookie contract with a team option for a fifth year. The fifth year represents a big salary increase. It is still appreciably less than a star level player could command on the open market.

In the case of Richardson, this was a no-brainer. He has had some off the field problems so picking up his option gives the Jets an extra year to evaluate whether he is worth a long-term investment. It also gives them a Pro Bowl level player at a discount.

The Jets could theoretically cut Richardson up until next year and lose nothing on the cap as the team did with Quinton Coples after picking up his fifth year option. That obviously is unlikely. Richardson's money would only be guaranteed if he suffered an injury that forced him to miss all of 2017.

The Jets have another first round pick from 2013 eligible for a fifth year option in Dee Milliner. Expect the team to decline that option. That injury clause will be enough to make the Jets pass. It is not like Milliner would be worth the money anyway.