May 3, 2019 / 12:50 AM / 24 days ago

Option notebook: Lee, Nkemdiche, Ifedi to free agency after 2019

The New York Jets will not pick up linebacker Darron Lee’s fifth-year option before Friday’s deadline, according to multiple reports Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - New York Jets Darron Lee runs for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of their NFL game in Detroit, Michigan U.S. September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Lee, 24, has reportedly been shopped in trade talks for much of the offseason, but he remained on the team’s roster through last weekend’s draft.

His fifth-year option would have been worth about $9.5 million in 2020 and guaranteed only for injury. Instead, he is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, unless the Jets release him before then.

Lee was drafted 20th overall in 2016. He had 74 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defensed last season while starting 12 games.

—NFL Network reported that the Arizona Cardinals will decline defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche’s fifth-year option, which would have been worth $7.7 million.

Nkemdiche, 24, had 4.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss last season while missing six games due to injury. He had no sacks, three QB hits and one tackle for loss across 17 games in his first two seasons, missing time in each to injury.

Once pegged as a potential top-10 prospect, Nkemdiche slid to 29th overall in 2016 due to concerns about his work ethic and personality.

—The Seattle Seahawks will decline right tackle Germain Ifedi’s fifth-year option, according to multiple reports. The option would have been worth $10.4 million.

Ifedi, who turns 25 on June 2, has allowed 19 sacks — according to STATS LLC. — and committed 32 penalties through 44 games (all starts) across three seasons. He drew praise for improved play in 2018 but was still credited with a career-high seven sacks surrendered in 15 games.

The Seahawks took Ifedi 31st overall in 2016 after trading down five spots.

—The Carolina Panthers declined defensive tackle Vernon Butler’s fifth-year option, which would have been worth $7.7 million.

Butler, who turns 25 on June 14, has yet to start a game through three seasons, playing in 38 as a reserve. He has 45 career tackles (three for loss), two sacks and 10 QB hits.

The Panthers took Butler 30th overall in 2016.

—The San Francisco 49ers will decline the $10.4 million fifth-year option for guard Joshua Garnett, according to multiple reports.

FILE PHOTO - Dec 24, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) returns a recovered fumble for a touchdown past New York Giants tight end Jerell Adams (89) during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports - 10499009

Garnett, 25, played just 59 offensive snaps in seven games as a reserve last season after missing the whole 2017 campaign after knee surgery. He started 11 of 15 games as a rookie, giving up three sacks and committing four penalties.

The 49ers traded up nine spots to take Garnett 28th overall in 2016.

—Field Level Media

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