FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have informed defensive tackle Danny Shelton that they don’t plan to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract for 2019, a league source said. The fifth-year option for 2019 is projected to be $7.1 million.
In March, the Patriots acquired Shelton and a fifth-round draft pick from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a third-round draft pick.
The Browns had initially selected Shelton — who at 6-foot-2 and 335 pounds is a strong player against the run who has come off the field in passing situations — 12th overall in the 2015 draft.
The Patriots could still sign Shelton to a long-term extension after the 2018 season, as they will have had a full season to evaluate him in their system.
The team assumes some risk in declining the fifth-year option, as Shelton could potentially command more than $7.1 million per season on the free-agent market. But since there are only a handful of players at Shelton’s position around the NFL who earn more than $7.1 million per season, the club might view that as a conservative risk.