Adrian Clayborn May Not Be Long For BucsApril 21st, 2014
Now Joe likes Adrian Clayborn, but ever since his knee injury not quite two years ago, he has not been the same defensive end. Prior to his injury, it looked like the Bucs might have a pretty good edge pass rusher in the making.
Because the Bucs couldn’t breathe on any opposing quarterback, one of the first items on new Bucs coach Lovie Smith’s agenda was to beef up the pass rush, little that they had.
Enter Michael Johnson, and who knows who the Bucs will draft next month? It is for the reasons aforementioned that Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes Clayborn may be entering his final Bucs season. Per the most recent CBA (2011), teams have options to sign their first-round picks for a fifth season, or let them become unrestricted free agents after their fourth year in the league. In fact, teams have a deadline of May 5 to notify the affected 2011 draft picks of whether they will pick up that fifth-year option.
La Canfora believes Clayborn will not receive a notice from the Bucs in the coming days.
Not bloody likely
No. 20 overall, Adrian Clayborn, DL, Tampa Bay ($7M): Clayborn is coming off an effective season but the Buccaneers have spent a lot of money already this year and will have to back up the Brinks truck to keep DL Gerald McCoy. So, I would be shocked if they picked up this option. They might be able to work out something with Clayborn, but not at $7 million a year.
The Bucs may want to keep Clayborn after this season unless he completely folds. Joe doesn’t expect that at all. But Lovie Smith was asked about Clayborn’s fifth-year extension at the NFL Owners Meetings last month, and Lovie was non-committal and said the Bucs had time to figure that out. The key here may just be Will Gholston, who finished last season as the starting left defensive end. No player on the Bucs roster made more headway last year than Gholston, who can play both inside (tackle) and outside (end) on either the left side or the right side.
If Gholston, under better coaching this season, blows up as Joe expects him to, this could be bad news for Clayborn. Gholston’s contract is far, far cheaper than Clayborn’s. Under his current pact, Gholston, signed through 2016, will not break $500,000 until next season and is in line to be paid $670,000 in 2016, per Rotoworld.com.