The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Michael Clayton in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, and for one season it looked like a brilliant move: As a rookie he had 80 catches for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns.
But Clayton has never been close to that player since then, and there was talk this week that the Bucs could be just days away from releasing him after six years with the franchise.
However, Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Bucs do not plan to make any decision on Clayton for several months, until they’re finalizing their 53-man roster after training camp.
Although there was a story making the rounds that the Bucs owed Clayton a $1 million payment on March 15 and wanted to make a decision before then, Stroud reports that the payment is guaranteed whether Clayton is on the roster or not.
It is true, however, that the Bucs could cut Clayton this year, even though they signed him to a five-year, $24-million contract, with $10 million guaranteed, last year. Coming off a season in which he caught just 16 passes, there’s a good chance that Clayton could be looking for work. But if he is, he’ll be looking for work in August, not March.