Bucs Will Not Exercise Clayborn OptionApril 24th, 2014
The speculation is now fact. The Bucs will not exercise the fifth-year option of Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn, as reported by Greg Auman and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times yesterday afternoon.
Clayborn’s first three season were largely marred by an ugly knee injury and lack of sacks, which is not a great combination. Had the Bucs picked up his option, it would have meant a windfall for Clayborn of $6.96 million in 2015.
Now, after this season, Clayborn becomes an unrestricted free agent and the move by the Bucs essentially is a “show me” move by the Bucs to the Show Me State native.
“For new staff coming in, we like what Adrian did last year,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “We have him in a position, he’s one of the guys we’re counting on this year and he needs to play well this year no matter what we do and he realizes that. Whatever we decide is good for him and I don’t think he’s really worried about an awful lot. He knows he’s going to be with us and that’s all that any of us is promised is this year to play ball. If I was a betting man I would say he’s going to have a heck of a year.”
Joe thinks Lovie is on to something. Returning in 2013 from a lost 2012 season due to a knee injury, Clayborn started out last year with a pair of sacks in the first three games and then disappeared most of the rest of the season.
However, Clayborn did get 2.5 of his five sacks in the final six games, which may suggest he was starting to get over the hump of his knee injury, which often takes a full year to fully bounce back.
Clayborn yesterday took the news in stride.
“It doesn’t matter either way to me,” Clayborn said. “Even if they did give it to me, it’s not guaranteed. I just have to come out and have a good year.
“Either way, it works out for itself.”
In case Joe’s readers haven’t heard, there is a new sheriff in town who has an established resume of being able to groom defensive linemen into quarterback terrors. That was not the case for defensive linemen under former Bucs commander Greg Schiano, when defensive linemen were often seen dancing out of position amid Bill Sheridan’s stunts.
Joe is pretty confident Bucs fans won’t be seeing Clayborn guarding a scatback like Darren Sproles in pass coverage this season. Can you imagine there were actually (allegedly) sober minds in meeting rooms at One Buc Palace last year that told Clayborn that in a certain Bucs alignment, if Sproles rolled out of the backfield on a pass play, that he was Clayborn’s responsibility?
That may have been the worst mismatch Joe has ever seen on a football field.