Report: On deadline day, Ponder is one of 13 not given fifth year yet
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Christian Ponder's 35 starts, specifically his 2-6-1 record as a starter in his third season, have many ready to push the Minnesota Vikings quarterback out the door.
As of Wednesday, Ponder hadn't been told if the team was willing to exercise his fifth-year option on his rookie contract. At this stage of the game, it's highly unlikely the Vikings will retain Ponder's rights for 2015.
But as crazy as it sounds, there's little risk (potentially little reward) to commanding control of another year.
And Ponder knows that.
"I don't know what to expect," Ponder said. "Honestly I'm not thinking about it. Plus, the option doesn't really mean much. They can cut me without anything after this year so it doesn't matter."
As it's written into the collective bargaining agreement, teams can tack on another year to a first-round pick's rookie contract at varying prices. For picks 1-10, that fifth year will be worth the previous year's transition tag at the given position. For picks 11-32, including Ponder, who was selected 12th overall in 2011, the Vikings would tentatively activate a deal that's worth the average salary of players between the third-highest paid quarterback and the 25th on the list. This week, ProFootballTalk came up with $9.6 million as Ponder's 2015 number.
If the fifth year is activated, as Ponder said, the Vikings can cut him before March of next year to no loss of their own.
The only way the Vikings give Ponder another year and are forced to pay him is if he suffers an injury this season that carries over into the new league year. Otherwise, a fifth year simply means at least another 10 months of controlling his 2015 rights.
NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Friday* that Ponder is one of 13 players from 2011's first round that haven't had their options picked up.
Teams need to decide before Saturday, per Article VII, Section 7(a) of the CBA: "To do so, the Club must give written notice to the player after the final regular season game of the player's third season but prior to May 3 of the following League Year."
1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers -- Option activated
2. Von Miller, Denver Broncos -- Option activated
3. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills -- Option activated
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals -- Option activated
5. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals -- Option activated
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons -- Option activated
7. Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers -- Expected to activate*
8. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans -- Reportedly likely not*
9. Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys -- Option activated
10. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers -- Traded, likely not*
11. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans -- Option activated
12. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings -- Reportedly likely not*
13. Nick Fairley, Detroit Lions -- Reportedly likely not*
14. Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams -- Option activated
15. Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins -- Option activated
16. Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins -- Option activated
17. Nate Solder, New England Patriots -- Option activated
18. Corey Liuget, San Diego Chargers -- Option activated
19. Prince Amukamara, New York Giants -- Option activated
20. Adrian Clayborn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Reportedly likely not*
21. Phil Taylor, Cleveland Browns -- Option activated
22. Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts -- Option activated
23. Danny Watkins, Philadelphia Eagles -- Free agent*
24. Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints -- Option activated
25. James Carpenter, Seattle Seahawks -- Reportedly likely not*
26. Jonathan Baldwin, San Francisco 49ers -- Reportedly likely not*
27. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens -- Option activated
28. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints -- Reportedly likely not*
29. Gabe Carimi, Atlanta Falcons -- No longer on rookie deal*
30. Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets -- Option activated
31. Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Option activated
32. Derek Sherrod, Green Bay Packers -- Reportedly likely not*