Whether the Falcons would’ve picked up his option is debatable, but the mechanics of his trade from the Lions makes it a moot point for Jeff Okudah.
Like the recent trade of D’Andre Swift, the trade of fellow 2020 draft class member Jeff Okudah made sense for the player and the Detroit Lions. A change of scenery was need for both, and they both were no longer part of the plan in Detroit.
Of course the decision on Okudah’s $11.5 million fifth-year option transferred to the Falcons in the trade. Not that they are any more likely to pick it up than the Lions were. Turns out, it’s a moot point.
Put this into the “you learn something new every day” column for today.
The Lions payed $1.5 million of Okudah’s 2023 salary to facilitate the trade, which was known. But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Monday, that makes him ineligible for his fifth-year option.
"With the fifth-year option deadline tomorrow, worth noting: New #Falcons CB Jeff Okudah is not eligible for it. When the #Lions agreed to pay $1.5M of his 2023 salary to facilitate the trade, his option was off the table. He has 1 year and $3.682M deal left with ATL"
Did the Lions cost Jeff Okudah money by covering some of his 2023 salary?
Simply to unload Okudah, to the Falcons or possibly anyone who would have traded for him, the Lions paid roughly 29 percent of his 2023 salary. So he’s not losing any money this year, it’s just who the money is coming from. Maybe the Falcons hesitated to want to pay him $5.182 million for this year. So the Lions took care of a portion to simply send Okudah to a situation where he has a better chance to play a lot.
But some might say Okudah can’t get $11.5 milllion for next year based on the Lions covering part of this year’s salary, which feels wrong. But as mentioned, how likely were the Falcons to pick up that option? If the Lions doing it was put at zero percent if they’d kept him, maybe a one or two percent chance Atlanta would have done it before he plays a snap for them?
Okudah is unlikely to get $11.5 million, for 2024 or per year, in a new contract next offseason. He all but certainly wasn’t going to get it via his fifth-year option being picked up.
It was surprising news that Okudah is strictly ineligible for his fifth-year option. But the Lions covering some of his 2023 salary isn’t going to cost him any money he otherwise was in any way guaranteed to see.