Agent: Bucs not taking '15 option on Clayborn
TAMPA -- Both the team and player reiterated Wednesday that it won't change his future or how he approaches this season, but the agent for Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn said Wednesday the team has told him it won't be picking up a $6.96 million option for 2015.
The Bucs can still sign the 2011 first-round pick to a longterm extension -- and could still cut him next spring even if they'd exercised the option -- but a breakout season could give Clayborn a big payday as an unrestricted free agent next spring.
"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."
Clayborn, 25, had 5.5 sacks in 2013 after missing much of the previous year with a torn ACL. The Bucs made a major free-agent signing in Bengals star Michael Johnson, which will move Clayborn over to left end this upcoming season.
"It's been a rough two years for me, being hurt and then last year not playing the way I wanted to," he said. "I feel like with this system it's really prime for me to have a good year. It's up to me to make it happen."
Clayborn's agent, Blake Baratz, said Wednesday that the team had notified him it would not be picking up Clayborn's option -- the deadline for teams to choose is May 3, with option-year compensation based on an average of top players at the position.
Smith, speaking after Wednesday's practice, declined to say what decision the team had made about the option, which impacts all first-round picks entering their fifth year under the new CBA.
"(Clayborn) is one of the guys we're counting on this year. He needs to play well this year, no matter what we do. He realizes that," Smith said. "I don't think he's really worried about that an awful lot. He knows he's going to be with us. If I was a betting man, I'd say he's going to have a heck of a year."