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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Reader questions: Michael Clayton edition

Here's another reader question I thought was worthy of a look.

"Bob" asked the following earlier this week on this blog:

Do you think the Bucs will come to a decision on Michael Clayton before training camp?

To this, I answer with a resounding NO. There are a couple reasons for this. For one, the current crop of receivers is still extremely young, and the Bucs hardly know enough about these guys to go around releasing one of the few veteran receivers they have. I, too, see the upside of guys like Mike Williams, Sammie Stroughter and Arrelious Benn, but they're all so very young. And receiver is a position that often takes some time to grow into, something the rookies will learn the first time they're jammed violently at the line of scrimmage by the likes of Darrelle Revis.

Another reason Clayton will stick around is because the Bucs still would trade him if the opportunity presented itself, giving general manager Mark Dominik a chance to salvage something out of what has been an unpopular and, ultimately, unwise decision to re-sign Clayton to a $26 million deal last year. This might sound like a pipe dream, and maybe it is, but it doesn't cost the Bucs anything to hang on to Clayton during the preseason and shop him, hoping another club finds itself in a dire situation at receiver.

I often ask myself whether there is anything Clayton can do to find a place on the final roster this fall, and it's hard to come up with an answer. Even if he has a brilliant camp and preseason -- and he often has -- its hard to think it'll be enough to get the Bucs to look beyond all the past disappointments. Consider that last season, after inking his new contract, Clayton had just 16 receptions, the fewest in his career. Frankly, injuries to other receivers that greatly affect the depth might be the only thing that can keep Clayton around.

But regardless of his ultimate fate, I absolutely expect that he'll be with the club when it reports for training camp four weeks from today.

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:42pm]


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