The deadline for NFL teams to exercise their fifth-year contract options on 2018 first-round picks passed on Monday afternoon and 21 players had those options picked up.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is part of that group. Carolina traded for Darnold last month and announced their decision on his option after the draft.
That total is higher than it was in either of the last two seasons despite the fact that the salaries for the option years are guaranteed at the time the option is picked up. Before the adoption of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the options were...