NFL

4 NFL players who are thriving despite having fifth-year options declined

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4 NFL players who are thriving despite having fifth-year options declined

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

These four NFL players had their fifth-year options declined but used it as motivation.

Fifth-year options are offered to first-round picks before the fourth and final year of their rookie contract expires. NFL teams typically offer these to players if they’ve been impressed by them enough to keep them around or if they’re really impressed, they’ll extend those players to long-term deals.

This past offseason, it was the 2017 NFL Draft class who were evaluated for their three years of work so far. Out of the 32 players taken in the first round, 17 had their fifth-year options exercised and the only one to agree to a long-term deal at that time was Christian McCaffrey (others have since joined him).

Four players who had their fifth-year options declined decided not to be down in the dumps about it and use it as motivation. Heck, one of them even made a boatload of cash out of it. Let’s explore these four players who turned a negative into a positive.

4. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

The biggest name out of this group is easily Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who went No. 2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Poor Trubisky is forever going to be linked to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson who were the next two quarterbacks off the board. Mahomes won a Super Bowl in just his third season while Watson is the only bright spot in Houston.

Meanwhile, Trubisky has mostly been mediocre. It wasn’t surprising when the Bears declined his fifth-year option because the fans were tired of him and didn’t want to continue to be reminded of Ryan Pace’s horrible draft-day decision. With how well Trubisky has played over the past month, however, the Bears could in a position to re-sign their former No. 2 pick.

Declining the option wasn’t a bad decision by Chicago and if anything, it could have sparked something in Trubisky and gotten him to this point. Even if the Bears don’t bring him back, another team might like what they saw in Trubisky and want him as their starter for 2021 and beyond.

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