NFL teams, per the collective bargaining agreement, can exercise a fifth-year option on first-round draft picks in the spring before the player enters his fourth season. The Steelers did that with inside linebacker Ryan Shazier last April, and he will count $8.7 million against the salary cap. The salary is injury protected so Shazier will receive his money even though he is unlikely to play in 2018 because of his spinal cord injury. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Shazier's catastrophic injury won't alter the team's stance on whether to pick up a player's fifth-year option in the future. Outside linebacker Bud Dupree is a candidate in April to receive a fifth year. Next spring, the focus will be on cornerback Artie Burns.
Ryan Shazier injury won't change Steelers' stance on 5th-year options
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Feb 18