Clayborn was a first-round pick in 2011. The Bucs already had decided not to pick up the 2015 option. That meant 2014 was supposed to be a “prove-it’’ season for Clayborn.
But, now, Clayborn won’t be able to prove anything. He’ll become a free agent after the season, and it’s hard to imagine the Bucs offering him a lot of money to stay.
Through four seasons, Clayborn didn’t prove a lot. He had a somewhat promising rookie season in which he recorded 7.5 sacks, but Clayborn has trended downward from there. He missed 13 games and did not record a sack in 2012. In 2013, Clayborn stayed healthy, but produced only 5.5 sacks.
The bottom line here is Clayborn will get signed somewhere next year, but it won’t be for a large contract. There still is some untapped potential, and Clayborn could be worth a one-year contract at a reasonable salary. But that might not happen with the Bucs.