Predicting NFL fifth-year option decisions for the NFC East: Giants’ Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence, Eagles’ Andre Dillard, and Commanders’ Montez Sweat

The NFL’s fifth-year option deadline for 2019 first-round picks is right around the corner. With the May 2 deadline looming, Pro Football Network is predicting the fifth-year option decisions for each of the eight divisions. First, we start with the NFC East, which has three teams set to make big decisions on their former Day 1 picks.

Predicting fifth-year option decisions for the NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys don’t need to worry about making a fifth-year option choice this offseason, as they didn’t have a first-round pick in 2019 due to the Amari Cooper trade in 2018. The Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, and New York Giants will have big decisions to make over the next month.

The fifth-year option salaries are based on position, playing time, and performance, and are guaranteed at the time the option is exercised.

Washington Commanders

Fifth-year option: DE Montez Sweat
Prediction: Exercised

Sweat has had a solid but not spectacular stint with Washington over the past three years. While he’s had a bit of an up-and-down tenure, Sweat still has been a worthwhile cog in the Washington defense. Finding young, ascending pass rushers is tough to do in the NFL.

At just $11.5 million, Sweat’s fifth-year option is a worthwhile gamble based on his production. He has averaged 7 sacks a season despite missing seven games last year.

New York Giants

Fifth-year option: QB Daniel Jones
Prediction: Declined

With a new regime in place, the Giants probably want to see what Jones can do under new head coach Brian Daboll before guaranteeing him $22.4 million in 2023. Jones has been a turnover machine over the past three years. His offenses have only scored over 30 points once in the past two years.

The Giants are likely to keep an eye on next year’s QB class during the season. That outlook alone should stop them from forcing the issue on Jones. If Jones thrives in 2022, New York could always use the franchise tag on him.

Fifth-year option: DT Dexter Lawrence
Prediction: Exercised

Unlike Jones, Lawrence has proven that he can be a major difference-maker within the Giants’ defense. Still just 24, Lawrence has proven to be dominant at times, producing 145 tackles, 9 sacks, 5 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles during his first three years in the league.

Picking up Lawrence’s $10.8 million option for 2023 is probably a no-brainer for GM Joe Schoen.

Philadelphia Eagles

Fifth-year option: OT Andre Dillard
Prediction: Declined

Dillard has been the subject of some rough luck over the past three years. While he’s only started nine games during that span, he’s also been ousted by the legendary Jason Peters and the ascending Jordan Mailata over the years. The Eagles have already paid Mailata to be their left tackle of the foreseeable future, and Dillard has struggled at right tackle in the past.

Now situated as the Eagles’ highly paid swing tackle, Dillard isn’t likely to have his $12.6 million fifth-year option picked up by Philly. That said, as PFN previously reported, teams have shown trade interest in Dillard this offseason. If he were to be traded before the fifth-year option deadline, part of his appeal could be improved by giving the acquiring team the right to decide for itself.

For instance, if a team is trading a third- or fourth-round pick for Dillard, the GM of that club would probably like to acquire him for multiple years. A team trading for Dillard is likely to see him as a viable long-term starter, so the fifth-year option price tag won’t be viewed as a massive impediment by the acquiring club.

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