Receiver Laquon Treadwell, the 2016 first-round pick, will become a free agent next spring after the Vikings declined an expensive fifth-year option in his rookie contract.
The move was expected after Treadwell’s third NFL season culminated in being a healthy scratch before the Vikings’ Dec. 23 win in Detroit. The former Mississippi receiver set career highs in receptions (35), yards (302) and touchdowns (1) last season, but he was phased out of the offense under coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Treadwell had just one catch in three games with Stefanski calling plays to end the season.
The price tag of Treadwell’s option was another reason to decline. A fifth year would’ve cost the Vikings reportedly about $10 million, after having signed both receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to lucrative five-year extensions in the past calendar year.
Treadwell, 24 in June, is part of a disappointing 2016 first-round class of receivers. Corey Coleman and Josh Doctson didn’t live up to expectations in Cleveland and Washington.
Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller is the only of the four first-round receivers to see his fifth-year option exercised. Arguably, second-round receivers Sterling Shepard (Giants) and Michael Thomas (Saints) are the best of that 2016 class.
Treadwell will be in the mix for the Vikings’ 53-man roster this summer. Fresh competition will greet him in camp between ex-Broncos receiver Jordan Taylor, a free-agent signing, and seventh-round picks Dillon Mitchell and Olabisi Johnson.