Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New CBA could earn first-round picks franchise-tag level money in fifth NFL season

Feb 16, 2020 at 1:49 PM--

The NFL really wants a 17-game season and reportedly continues to push for it in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The terms of an offer for first-round picks could be an enticing incentive.

As it stands now, teams have the option to execute a fifth year of a first-round draft pick's four-year rookie deal. For example, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead's 2019 season was played on the fifth-year option, earning him over $9 million this past season. That's over $7 million more than Armstead received in 2018.

For the 49ers, the decision to pick up Armstead's option worked out well. The defender led the team in sacks this past season with a career-high 10 and added two more during postseason play.

The new CBA proposal, according to Pro Football Talk, would allow first-round picks to earn franchise-tag level money should a team pick up the fifth-year option, and should that player make the Pro Bowl twice in his first three seasons.

Not only that, but should a team exercise the option on a qualifying player and decide to use the franchise tag on him during his sixth season, it would be at the cost of 20 percent more than the already expensive fifth-year option.

To further put this into perspective, let's imagine that the new CBA rule applies to defensive end Nick Bosa, who was named to the Pro Bowl this past season. As explained by Pro Football Talk, if he earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2020 or 2021, the cost of his fifth-year option, in this fictitious scenario, would be the price of the franchise tag for defensive ends in 2021, which is the average of the top five salaries for the position. That price is expected to be nearly $18 million this year, and will only go up in the future.

The cost to franchise tag Bosa after 2023 would be 20 percent more than his fully-guaranteed salary in his fifth year.

This is just one of several terms the NFLPA is negotiating for as the NFL insists on an increase to a 17-game season.

H/t to Patrick Tulini for the find.

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