Fooch's update: The Bengals have also picked up the option on Tyler Eifert.
The New Orleans Saints took care of some business on Tuesday, picking up the 5th year option of safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Saints selected Vaccaro in 2013 with the 15th pick of the first round. Vaccaro is the first player from the 2013 draft to have his fifth year option picked up.
The collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 2011 provides that all drafted rookies sign a four-year contract, and first round picks will have a fifth year team option. The option has to be picked up in the offseason preceding the fourth season. It is guaranteed for injury when picked up, and becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the new league year in the fifth year, if the player remains on the roster.
The 49ers will have to decide whether or not to pick up Eric Reid's option. He was a Pro Bowler as a rookie, but has struggled with consistency at times since then. The bigger issue has been the concussions. He was healthy last season, but it is hard not to at least think about the issue. It is entirely possible he never experiences another concussion in his career. But it is something to factor into any long-term considerations.
Reid's option is expected to be around $5.6 million. It is a single year salary, with no bonus money attached. The salaries for picks after the top ten are determined by taking the third through 25th highest paid salaries for the position in question, from the player's third league year. In this case, that would cover salaries in 2015.
Yahoo! Sports columnist Charles Robinson discussed the likelihood of 2013 rookie options being picked up. He thinks the odds are low for the 49ers picking up Reid's option, saying:
Outlook: Reid regressed in a big way since his 2013 Pro Bowl season. His past two seasons have been marked by inconsistency, and 2015 was arguably the worst of his NFL career. That said, he remains the starter at free safety and will have another season to bounce back under new defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil.
Likelihood option is picked up: Low. There is a lot of risk here. Reid has already suffered multiple concussions and the potential for his fifth-year salary being guaranteed because of injury is real. He's also said he has considered retirement because of past head trauma. Even if Reid bounces back next season, the per-year average for a new contract wouldn't be wildly out of line for the $5.6 million he'd get under his option year. Picking up the option puts the 49ers in the position to assume most of the risk, and that doesn't make a great deal of sense.
The "said he has considered retirement" was something Reid walked back last summer. For comparison on the salary, Reid will earn a little over $1.5 million in base salary this season, and his cap figure will be $2,698,422. That's a sizable increase. The 49ers have plenty of cap space, but it is still something to factor into the discussion. My guess is they do pick it up, particularly since it is not fully guaranteed at this point.