Picking up Justin Pugh's fifth-year option will be no-brainer for Giants

Offensive lineman Justin Pugh has started two years at right tackle and one at left guard since being drafted by the Giants in 2013. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints on Tuesday picked up the fifth-year option on 2013 first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro, which got me to thinking about the first two guys the New York Giants picked in that draft.

You can be pretty much 100 percent certain that the Giants will pick up the fifth-year option on offensive lineman Justin Pugh, who was the No. 19 overall pick in that year's draft. Expect that announcement sometime in the next three weeks.

Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, picked No. 49 overall in that year's draft, doesn't have a fifth-year option on his contract because he was not a first-round pick.

At this time, the Giants haven't had substantive discussions with either player about contract extensions, which means Hankins is likely to be a free agent this time next year and Pugh is likely to play the 2017 season at his option price. Obviously, that could change, but the Giants' recent history coupled with the fact that Hankins is coming off an injury indicates that the team won't be in a rush to extend either player.

To refresh your memory, the NFL collective bargaining agreement grants the team a fifth-year option at the end of the four-year guaranteed contract it signs with its first-round pick. The team has until May 3 of the year following the contract's third year to exercise the option, and if it does, the player's fifth-year salary is guaranteed for injury only. If the player is on the team's roster on the first day of the following league year -- i.e., after he's played four seasons -- then the salary is fully guaranteed.

The price of the option is based on a formula. If you're picked in the top 10, your option price is the transition tag number for your position. If you're picked between No. 11 and No. 32, your option price is the average of the No. 3 through No. 25 highest salaries at your position. Last year, the fifth-year option price for offensive lineman outside the 2012 top 10 was $7.432 million. So Pugh's 2017 option price would likely be something in the $8 million range.

For a player who's started two years at right tackle and one at left guard, that's a no-brainer decision. The only questions about Pugh and Hankins are whether and when the Giants decide they are significant enough parts of their future to keep them around.

We've been over a few aspects of this before. The only Giants draft picks since Jerry Reese became GM in 2007 to sign second contracts with the team are Ahmad Bradshaw, Zak DeOssie and Will Beatty. (Sure, you can count Jason Pierre-Paul's current one-year deal if you like, but that kind of misses the point.) The Giants are one of only two teams (along with Jacksonville) that does not have a player on its roster from its 2011 or 2012 draft classes.

Pugh and Hankins at the top of the 2013 class could stand as real draft successes. They could, conceivably, mark a turnaround point in a miserable time in Giants draft history. Yes, 2008-12 was a disaster, but if they found long-term building blocks with their first two picks in 2013, then they have once again started doing things the way they're supposed to do them. They whiffed, obviously, with third-rounder Damontre Moore, but they got a backup quarterback in Ryan Nassib in the fourth. If Pugh and Hankins stick around for a while, that 2013 draft is a good one.

At this point, that's a big if. You'll hear news on Pugh in the next three weeks, but the picking up of that option will be procedural. The real determination on Pugh and Hankins likely comes this time next year.