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Joe Douglas Confirms the Jets Will Pick Up Quinnen Williams’ Fifth Year Option

NFL: London Games-New York Jets Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jets general manager Joe Douglas held his annual press conference from the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday.

The biggest news he made was confirming the team will pick up Quinnen Williams’ fifth year option.

If you are unfamiliar with rookie contracts, first round picks receive four year deals with a team option for the fifth year. There is a catch. The team must decide whether to exercise that option between the player’s third and fourth seasons.

There are changes to the fifth year option from the new collective bargaining agreement signed two years ago. Previously the price of the fifth year option was based on the player’s Draft position. Top ten picks had a more expensive option than players picked eleven through thirty-two.

Now the price of the option is based on performance metric such as playing time and Pro Bowls made. Here the Jets save some money. Williams’ injury history has led him to miss playing time benchmarks, and he has never made a Pro Bowl. This means his fifth year option costs around $10.2 million according to Over the Cap.

The new rules are to the detriment of teams whose Draft picks have been outstanding. Much of the cost savings goes out the window due to the performance metrics. For the Jets with a good but not great player like Williams, the new format gives them a relative bargain for another year.

Aside from the Williams news, Douglas’ press conference seemed full of the generic, cliched GM talk you would expect from a Combine press conference.

Douglas spoke after Robert Saleh. The Jets head coach is not attending the Combine in person, but he did hold an earlier media availability on Wednesday. Saleh offered a few other insights.

In the NFL there is always a balance in team building because positions are not equal. Some provide more impact than others. Still, a great player at any position can make a big impact. When we talk about positional value, I think a lot of it comes down to the quantity of game changers at each spot. There aren’t as many safeties who make an impact as there are edge rushers or cornerbacks, but there still are some who genuinely can lift an entire unit. I think the approach of looking for “unicorns” is not a bad one on paper.

Saleh also offered a bit of insight into the team’s roster building approach.

While we typically think about building around a quarterback in terms of improving the offensive line and pass catchers, this isn’t a bad point. Putting quarterbacks into good situations can matter a lot. Passers who don’t need to play catch up and force passes in an attempt to make big plays tend to do better than those with defenses that allow a ton of points.