According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, the Broncos are unlikely to pick-up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker, Shane Ray.
After spending the 5th overall pick on edge rusher Bradley Chubb, this move became pretty obvious for the Broncos. If they did exercise his fifth-year option, Ray would have had a $9.232 million dollar cap hit. That would have been a big chunk of change to spend on a player who would be your 3rd or 4th edge rusher on defense. So this is a smart move for the Broncos.
Ray was aiming for a big year in 2017, however, he dealt with injuries, and when he returned he was 20 pounds under his playing weight and really only had one healthy arm. So that probably played into the Broncos decision here. Ray did have a solid 2016 season where he totaled a career-high 8 sacks when he was fully healthy. However, he has dealt with injuries throughout his career which has limited him to only 13 career sacks through three NFL seasons with the Broncos.
If the Broncos do not pick up his option, Ray will be playing in the final year of his rookie contract in 2018. This hopefully will motivate him into having a career year and potentially into a big contract next winter.
In the end, it seems unlikely that Ray will be in a Broncos uniform in 2019. The Broncos have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb as their long-term starters and they also could decide to keep Shaq Barrett who figures to be cheaper to sign.
If UDFA edge rusher Jeff Holland impresses the Broncos coaches this spring/summer, it could lead to Shane Ray being put on the trade block(if he isn’t there already).
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but it appears the Broncos are not picking up Shane Ray’s 5th-year option.