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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs shopping Clayton? You bet. And others.



    Don't be surprised by the report on the NFL Network that the Bucs are shopping receiver Michael Clayton.

   It's the time of year when those discussions are held throughout the league. As the Saturday deadline nears for teams to trim their roster to 53 players, the Bucs have a glut of receivers they like so they're looking for value.

   The player with the most value might be Clayton, a first round pick in 2004 who led all rookies with 80 catches 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns. But he has fallen from grace, combining for just 65 catches and one TD over the last two seasons.

   Clayton has fallen behind Joey Galloway, Maurice Stovall, David Boston and Ike Hilliard on the depth chart. Mark Jones, another receiver, is likely to make the club as a kick returner.

   That means one of these receivers won't be active on game day. So who doesn't dress? And we haven't even mentioned Paris Warren, one of the most productive receivers in the preseason.

   A big factor when it comes to the final cuts will be the health of the team. Already, the Bucs have several injuries on the offensive line, including starters Arron Sears and Jeremy Trueblood.

   Both are expected back in time to play against Seattle Sept. 9. But the Bucs might be forced to carry an extra lineman for a few weeks. The same is true at the tight end position, where Alex Smith is hobbled with an ankle sprain.

   The reason it will be tough to deal Clayton is that the Bucs won't be looking to give him away. They will want value in terms of a high to mid-round draft pick. And, of course, the team has denied the report that Clayton is on the block. That's standard procedure.

   Clayton won't be the only player the Bucs will try to deal. Even though he is not 100 percent, Chris Simms might have some value and they might consider keeping him for a week or so to see if another team will nibble. There also are large numbers in the secondary and defensive line.

   The trade winds will be blowing at least until next week, when the focus will be on beating Seattle.




[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:48pm]


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