Exercising Kenny Vaccaro’s fifth-year option was right move by Saints


According to NFL Network, the New Orleans Saints have decided to pick up the fifth-year option for safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was scheduled to become a free agent in 2017.

Teams now have the option to keep players who were drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft for another season after their rookie contracts expire, according to the current collective bargaining agreement that was put in place in 2014.  Kenny Vaccaro was selected with the No. 15 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2013.

The new alternative began with players from the 2011 NFL Draft.  The Saints exercised Cam Jordan’s option in 2014 for the following season, but did not do so with Mark Ingram, who became a free agent in 2015 but signed a new four-year deal to remain in New Orleans.  The Saints did not have a first-round pick in 2012.

Kenny Vaccaro was one of the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball in 2015, so exercising him for his fifth season in 2017 is a no-brainer.  The Saints, who are in good cap shape for 2017, will now pay him $5.676 million next year, says salary cap expert Joel Corry.  Vaccaro now has at least another two seasons in the Big Easy.

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Missing the final two games and playoffs of his stellar rookie year with an injury, and getting benched at the end of his sophomore year in 2014 due to missed tackles and blown assignments, Kenny Vaccaro experienced a bit of a rollercoaster ride like most of the Saints’ defensive players have in the past few years.

But he made progress in 2015, recording 104 total tackles (second on the team), while adding three sacks, five passes defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in the process.  Kenny Vaccaro was healthy.  He was productive.  And he looks to be a key piece to the team’s success as this defense tries to get back on its feet following a pair of historically bad seasons.

Per ESPN, Kenny Vaccaro, a first-team All-American with the Texas Longhorns in 2012, seems to be the first NFL player from the 2013 draft class to have his fifth-year option exercised.  It was a must for the Saints — he’s a crucial piece to the defense.  The deadline for teams to figure what they want to do with their 2013 first-round picks is May 2.