Michael Johnson = Michael Clayton

February 16th, 2015

michael johnson 1014Here’s a legitimately tough question: Who would have a better season starting at right defensive end for Tampa Bay next season, Da’Quan Bowers, Michael Johnson or Adrian Clayborn?

That challenging query illustrates just how ghostly and ghastly the Johnson situation is.

The man was dreadful last year, buttery soft. And now the Bucs must decide if they’re going to throw real Team Glazer cash, another $7 million of real money by March 12 (not salary cap funny money), to a guy who has had two subpar seasons in a row.

For Joe, that would be like paying blocking icon Michael Clayton $10 million guaranteed like former rockstar general manager Mark Dominik inexplicably did in 2009. A wide receiver who can’t catch is just as valuable as an edge rusher who rarely breathes on quarterbacks.

Some claim Team Glazer gets involved in big decisions. Joe hopes they step in here.

Joe doesn’t see an end game with Johnson. Does he really look like a cog in the Bucs’ future push for the playoffs? No way.

45 Responses to “Michael Johnson = Michael Clayton”

  1. Lunchbag Al Says:

    This team needs a legit break the bank type of edge rusher that will make opposing OCs really nervous on Sundays. I mean legit, not wishful…for real scary. Go get that guy Lovie.

  2. WS99 Says:

    Why pay someone 7m+ when they don’t even want to play for lovie smith? Chances are if your heart isn’t in it then you may not perform well (also see Revis)


  3. Another J Says:

    Despite his physical limitations, Adrian Clayborn at least plays the game with effort, and hustle. We can’t say the same for about Michael Johnson.

  4. bucs4lyfe Says:


    Michael Johnson = Michael Clayton

    I don’t know…….Michael Johnson hasn’t given us any signs of hope in tampa that he could even have one good year that clayton had as a rookie, no not here in tampa and what he did for another team just doesn’t count to bucs fans because we didn’t watch him for a 16 game season like we do our team

    but mike evans…..oh yea he absolutely could easily be Michael clayton. this is setting up just like the same scenario, seems like this team is destined to repeat same sad mistakes, mike evans had a good rookie season as a number 2 and took the number 1 great but when you start undervaluing the guy on the opposite side like we did with mike Williams you realize you don’t have what you think you have. even cadillac Williams had a breakout rookie season and went on to do nothing in the league but get hurt, the odds are this franchise didn’t learn anything from those two players and we’ll make another stupid mistake

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “And now the Bucs must decide if they’re going to throw real Team Glazer cash, another $7 million of real money by March 12 (not salary cap funny money)”

    That is confusing…..lets clarify this…..to my knowledge Michael Johnson has a $9m salary with $7m guaranteed…..if we cut him we have only $2m in cap savings….so he will get his $7m from the Glazers whether he plays or not..

    I could be wrong….but I think the Glazers, Licht & Lovie will take their chances that Johnson will turn things around…..

  6. louden Says:

    The thing about MJ 93: he is simply overpaid.
    Let him and Clayborn compete (if you aren´t able to find an upgrade this offseason, since there are a lot of holes)
    just lets see who warrants a future roster spot (if any of those two – bowers? seems like he worries too much about his achilles blowing up again.. not worth another contract.. at least in tampa bay – maybe the threat of droppig out of the league will spark some fire into him – but as dissappointing it is.. he is another draft bust for us..)

  7. ddneast Says:

    Adrian Clayborn had more sacks, 7.5, than anyone else has since. Schiano moving him to left DE has been a monumental disaster. I say resign Clayborn and move him back to his natural position. Johnson, I’m afraid you are going to have to keep because of his salary cap hit.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    $18m of the $43,750M contract is guaranteed….first two years…the last three not guaranteed….so, we are on the hook whether he plays or not……maybe a trade partner….but cutting him isn’t a good option.

  9. louden Says:

    Here is one sharing your “danger thought” about MikeEvans.. thats why i had preffered some other.. but lets see.. (i still love cadillac)

    The big point you brought up: that we need a second very good WR besides him >>>> they shoud go after Torrey Smith hard!

    Dude has mad ball skills, knows how to get open + outruns secondarys
    Would maybe come even cheaper than V-Jacks + is just 26/27 years old
    + gives us the possibility to trade V-Jacks, while even upgrade talent level
    >>> he + Evans = perfect WR 1/2 punch for years to come, just like we already have/had
    + additional help elsewhere
    = what would make sense and better the team..
    = pretty much not what the Bucs will do

  10. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Adrian Clayborn is a bargain at this point in his career and he’s worth it to me instead of A. trusting a rookie end to play like a probowler or B. paying some free agent a kings ransom. keep Adrian Clayborn and draft someone who could push both defensive ends

  11. bucs4lyfe Says:

    yea I think mike evans is a stud but im just pointing out that Michael clayton effect. when you come in and do nothing after your rookie year it to me makes me look at mike evans side ways before im ready to anoint him the next top receiver in the league but if you can do what you did as a rookie with josh mccown and glennon throwing you balls then you have to be a big time receiver

  12. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Leonard Williams

  13. Back up kicker Says:

    I agree with TBbucsfan. Regardless how much Joe whines about it, he’s on the team next year, simply because of guaranteed $ owed. Maybe he will bounce back, but I think he’s to soft.

  14. bucrightoff Says:

    Credit where it’s due, at least Michael Clayton blocked hard, he just couldn’t be a good receiver. Wasn’t lack of effort, unlike Johnson who has clearly mailed it in.

  15. bucs4lyfe Says:

    theres something about big contracts and the florida atmosphere that gets free agents to start thinking about retirement and life after football

  16. Not ...... "The Kevin" Says:

    You have to give Johnson another year. He sounds pretty motivated and many former players have vouched that a bad ankle can really affect a players ability to be effective.

    That brings up the question again….why was he on the field all season?

    If I had to bet on one of them it would be Johnson. Bowers sounds like he will be moving inside and Claiborne is just a mystery.

  17. DallasBuc Says:

    Clayborn is CLEARLY the best of the 3. Clayborn, Bowers, anyone else and then Johnson.

  18. DallasBuc Says:

    ddneast- your boyfriend Lovie moved Clayborn to LDE, not Schiano.
    Lovie Smith is not intelligent and should not be allowed to make any actual football decisions. Let him just stand around with a floppy hat and headphones on playing Motown hits all day.

  19. The Buc Realist Says:

    I don’t know why any of you guys want to see any of the 3 on the field anymore. If Lovie cannot find a better DE in the 3rd round then what is Lovie doing in Tampa!

    I will take Jacquies Smith and I try out for anyone else that can stay on the field. I am tired of trying to decide who the worst DE is on the worst team in the NFL.

  20. rayjay1122 Says:

    Maybe we can’t create cap space by ousting him but we sure can open a roster spot. This guy is trash. Well trash as a football player as he may be a very good man. We do not need or want him, so have him clean out his locker!!!

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe – again what you are saying about the $ is not correct. Johnson will likely be a Buccaneer in 2015 for the simple reason that $7M of his 2015 $9M salary is already guaranteed. Bucs only save $2M by cutting Johnson – so unless they’ve totally given up on him – they will probably deem the $2M risk that his play will improve this year compared to what they can bring in for that same $2M a reasonable speculation.

    Here is the post I made on the previous JBF article you link to above that breaks down the real situation with Johnson’s contract.

    So you are 100% sure spotrac is correct? Please. –Joe

  22. BucsFanInChina Says:

    Cutting Michael Johnson will only save the Bucs $2 M. With the Bucs’ lack of depth at the position they have no choice but to stick with him and hope he regains his health and form. Keep in mind he is only 1 year removed from being ranked the #4 ranked DE on Pro Football Focus’ rankings.

    Clayborn is an interesting situation as it would not be wise for him to sign any long-term deal since his entire career has been injury-plagued thus far. Best case scenario is for Licht and Clayborn can agree to a one year “prove it” deal. It can get a lot worse than Adrian Clayborn at DE. Remember Teo-Neshim?

    Bowers? That guy can go pound sand.

  23. louden Says:

    So yes, letting it play out between him and clayborn should do it >>> looking for replacements is a must..

    If the Bucs would sign Suh, you could even move GMC to the Left-DE spot.
    McCoy has a better first step than clayborn and should be stronger
    (who seems ultra slow and properbly would be much better served in a 3-4 Defense in NFL).

    Bottom Line: i dont know if its a good idea, but a D-line (and potential rotation and sub-formations) with GMC McDonald Suh Smith
    >>> great against run; better pass rush than this year for damn sure

  24. Pickgrin Says:

    If I was the GM – I would offer Adrian Clayborn a 2 year prove it deal. $1.5M base salary each year with a bonus incentive of $2.5M for each year that he gets double digit sacks. I think with that kind of incentive you would see a very motivated player coming off the edge. If not – you have a solid, high motor guy for a veteran back up at a very reasonable price.

  25. lion Says:

    The answer = Greg Hardy…

  26. lion Says:

    Yes, as others have said, there is no way in hell that we can cut Johnson. You absolutely have to keep him on the team next year and hope with him being 100% healthy that he will be better. Cutting him to save $2 M in salary cap would be idiotic. At $2M he would at least provide depth. Now if he completely bombs this year I would have no problem with dumping him next offseason. He deserves one more year and this talk of cutting him now is absolutely ludicrous.

    Collins on the other hand is a completely different story,

  27. knuckledragger Says:

    We HAVE to keep Johnson. It doesn’t make financial sense to cut him. Sign Hardy which pushes Johnson even harder and we Instantly have at least a 50% improvement on the DL. This would make it alot easier to Not have to draft Williams or Gregory, and trade down to get Scherff or Peat or (God Forbid) both.

  28. Jon Says:

    It’s worse. Money wise not even close. Clayton got cut and knowing those deals Dominik did he probably didn’t make near the money reported

  29. knuckledragger Says:

    I concur lion. Cut bait with Collins

  30. Edward Meehan Says:

    clayton was much better

  31. David_54 Says:

    My vote from those three choices, is AC hands down. Gives high-effort consistently and will benefit from playing next to healthy GMC.

  32. LargoBuc Says:

    Tackles single handedly were able to block Johnson and keep him away from the ball. Very disapointing considering his salary. I didnt expect him to be Simeon Rice but at least stop the run or something.

  33. unbelievable Says:

    Keep AC either way, even if it’s just for depth. He always plays with effort and has put up ok numbers when healthy.

    We always severely suffer from depth issues. Every year!

    AC can fill the role of backup / rotational guy.

  34. OB Says:

    Keeping bad players on the roster only prevents good players from being on it.

    Cut the deadwood and get on with winning.

  35. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    If he could stay healthy, Joe, I would say Adrian Clayborn.

    But…he was unable.

  36. Pickgrin Says:

    “So you are 100% sure spotrac is correct? Please. –Joe”

    Joe – are you 100% sure that what Florio wrote about the additional $7M in that Jan 19th PFT article is what’s correct?

    You prefer OTC as a reliable source for contract details over spotrac? Nothing about the contract details change from either of those sources.

    Johnson is already owed $7M guaranteed this year by the Bucs. If he is on the roster on the 3rd day of the league year – he get’s another $2M guaranteed for this year and earns a total of $9M in 2015 ($5M base and $4M roster bonus). There are no other guarantees. We can cut him after this year and walk away from him with no penalty after the 2015 season. If he is still on the roster 3rd day of league year in 2016, then $5M of his $8.25M total salary is guaranteed for that year. Same scenario for 2017 and 18 at $8.75M total with $5M guaranteed if he’s not cut before the 3rd day of the league year.

    Are you disputing these #s? If so please provide the details that are in error and what your source for that info is. If the Florio article is your “source” – then I advise you to investigate further.

    Here is my 2nd source since you apparently didn’t believe the spotrac source:

  37. BucTrooper Says:

    No way Johnson is Michael Clayton….

    …Clayton had 1 good year.

  38. pewterpirate99 Says:

    Michael Johnson=Gains Adams, both sorry ass poor excuses for DE’s!!

  39. The only Buc fan in Montana Says:

    Trade Johnson back to Cincy for a late pick, mostly to get that contract off the books, if possible. The more we can get out from last years mistakes the better! Keep Clayborn on a 2yr incentive-laden deal, move Bowers to the inside on a 1 year “prove it deal” for depth, and find our new RDE elsewhere.

  40. The Buc Realist Says:

    I am still shocked of how many want to sign Clayborn to a new deal! Haven’t we seen enough the last 4 years. And we all know that Lovie wants Playmakers on the ends of the D-line. With out the constant pressure then Lovie’s defense is garbage. The Bucs will wisely move on from the players that cannot make plays!!!

  41. LargoBuc Says:

    Restructure Johnson or trade him if he refuses. We got Gholston and Smith too. Clayborn would be good for depth assuming he dosent want to test free agency. However we need some sort of upgrade at DE. Wether its Hardy or JPP or a draft pick i dont know. But another year of no edge pressure would be unacceptable. Especially considering we’ll be developing a new MLB next year.

  42. ufcguy Says:

    Heres what I saw with clayborne. First year hard nose all effort guy. Injury and tgen 2 stupid ass coaches misusing him. And yes id tell that to lovies face and make him prove me wrong. Ive got 7.5 reasons why im right. And that was his first year. He also got screwed against drew brees at home on a sack fumble. I was there in person and literally almost ran on the field and beat that ref within an inch of his life. One of tge single worst calls ive ever seen against bitch ass brees. Guy is a serious whiner and little bitch. Id resign clayborne today and put him in over soft ass Johnson at least he would create pressure unlike pillow princess

  43. Bill Says:

    MJ was clearly a disappointment this year, but it seems he was hurt all year long. Why was he playing? I can only assume it’s because he was better than the other options (even when hurt). Look at it this way, 2015 is essentially a contract year for him. If he plays well, the Bucs keep him and his 10M a year contract. If he plays poorly enough to be cut, no team will offer him anything close to 10M a year.

  44. unbelievable Says:

    Too bad teams aren’t rewarded with compensatory picks for bad FA signings.

    Just think of all the draft picks we’d stockpile!

  45. Teacherman777 Says:

    Adrian Clayborne should be a Steeler.

    The Steelers should sign him to replace that DE Keisel.

    Adrian is better suited as a 3-4 run defense DE.