The Buccaneers will not exercise their fifth-year option on Adrian Clayborn, Clayborn’s agent confirmed to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk had reported earlier in the week that the club wasn’t expected to pick up the defensive end’s 2015 option.
Unlike some other 2011 first-rounders, Clayborn has been a full-time starter for his club when he’s been healthy, starting all 35 games he has played for the Bucs since being drafted 20th overall. In 2013, the 25-year-old established a career high with 66 tackles, and also logged six sacks. However, while those numbers are respectable, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) weren’t all that fond of Clayborn’s performance, ranking him 47th out of 52 qualified 4-3 defensive ends.
Although the $6.969MM option for Clayborn would have been guaranteed for injury only, the Buccaneers’ decision suggests the team isn’t comfortable potentially being on the hook for that amount for the defensive end. The Iowa product will now be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2014 season, and the value of his next deal figures to depend in large part on his performance in his contract year.
To keep tabs on all of this year’s fifth-year option decisions as the May 3 decision deadline approaches, be sure to check out our tracker.