Each NFL first round pick has a team option for their fifth year. The team can accept it and pay the player a higher salary tied to the salaries of other players at their position, or do nothing and let the player walk after his fourth season, or try and extend him before free agency begins. Teams are forced to make this decision before a player enters his fourth season.
Will Fuller V was drafted in the first round in 2016. The Texans will soon—by the end of next week—have to make a decision if they want to pick up his option for 2020. In three seasons, Fuller has 107 catches on 108 targets for 1,561 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s a deep sea shark on the field and averages 14.6 yards a reception, including a high mark of 15.7 last year. He also has been an electric punt returner.
Yet he’s often injured. He’s played in 30 of the Texans’ 51 games over the last three seasons and is coming off ACL surgery after tearing it against Miami last October.
Houston has had the opportunity to pick up Fuller’s option since 2019 was birthed into the world, but like most teams, they wait until the last minute. Houston has until May 3rd to declare that they will or won’t pick up Fuller’s option for 2020.
If it was up to me (which nothing is), I would pick it up. Fuller has all the potential in the world and looked to break through as a complete player last season until he was taken away too soon. He’s been absurd whenever Deshaun Watson is under center. Fuller opens up the field for others players and draws safety help away from DeAndre Hopkins.
You can’t teach speed, and Fuller has it. If he’s injured next season, Houston can always release him, and paying $9 million or so for a WR2 isn’t that big a deal.
It’s safe to assume the Texans will figure this out before May 3rd rises from the horizon.
UPDATE: The Texans didn’t even wait until May 3rd was on the horizon. The team exercised the fifth-year option on Fuller’s rookie contract.