Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Bucs starters Michael Clayton, Jermaine Phillips likely to become free agents

TAMPA — Receiver Michael Clayton and strong safety Jermaine Phillips remain well apart in their negotiations with the Bucs and almost certainly will become free agents at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The representatives for both starters have been in talks with the Bucs for weeks, and dialogue continues. But the sides are not on track to strike a deal before free agency begins.

In Clayton's case, the 2004 first-round pick said he wants very much to return to Tampa Bay, but the gap between his contract expectations and what the Bucs are willing to pay might be too great.

"Right now, it's still up in the air," said Clayton, 26, who said his agent was expecting a counteroffer from the Bucs on Tuesday. "I know there's an opportunity for me to come back. I want to be back. But I think it's going to come down to money.

"There's a thin line between taking less money and trying to be a part of this organization and what they're building, and leaving millions on the table. But I love and respect (the Bucs) and I want to be a part."

The specifics of Clayton's contract demands aren't clear, but Atlanta's Michael Jenkins' recent deal can be used as a point of reference.

The Falcons gave Jenkins, also a No. 2 receiver, a reported four-year, $20-million extension in November.

For Phillips, who turns 30 next month, negotiations are complicated by numerous injuries. Though his play has been exemplary, he had two broken arms last season and has a history of forearm injuries.

The Bucs also are in heavy negotiations with cornerback Phillip Buchanon, who is a priority, but there's been no word on whether a deal is close.

Tampa Bay Bucs starters Michael Clayton, Jermaine Phillips likely to become free agents 02/24/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  2. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  3. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  5. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-name prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times