Bucs have decision to make with WR Michael Clayton

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have wanted to ditch Michael Clayton before the draft.

Now, they would really like to unload him after the Bucs, who were expected to focus their draft heavily on the defensive side of the ball, drafted wide receivers Arrelious Benn of Illinois and Mike Williams of Syracuse in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Both players are expected to be starters soon, and for the Bucs it was about replacing Antonio Bryant, not Clayton.

The problem, of course, is that the Bucs gave Clayton a misguided $26 million contract a year ago, a deal that Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reports included $10 million guaranteed. Clayton responded by making 16 receptions last season and he’s never really produced since joining the club in 2004.

With far more accomplished receivers on the street right now – guys who will likely play for less than the $3 million Clayton is due this season – it’s obvious the Bucs will not be able to trade him. That leaves the Bucs with a decision to make. Do they dump Clayton now knowing he will not bring anything in return? Or do they keep him around and ensure that injuries don’t take a toll on their depth chart that includes Reggie Brown, who they picked up this offseason from Philadelphia? If they keep Clayton around and he gets injured, then they face the prospect of having to pay him this season.

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