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Bucs' WR Michael Clayton an Option for the Redskins?

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In my ritual morning task of compiling the Daily Slop, I came across an interesting post by Eric Schmidt that suggested the Redskins might be interested in Michael Clayton, the former 2004, 15th overall pick by the Bucs  out of LSU. It's not that far-fetched the Skins have interest considering Bruce Allen has already brought in two former Bucs' castaways, Joey Galloway and Josh Bidwell. Some interesting facts on Clayton:

  • Clayton re-signed to a 5-year, $24 million deal before last season.    
  • Clayton is buried on Bucs' depth chart listed in the always embarrassing "Others." Some see it as a motivation tool similar to what Shanahan is doing to Devin Thomas, but either way, he's in the dog house.
  • Clayton was told coming into this season he was on the bubble, which he handled with class.
  • He has been having a "REAL good camp" despite seeing no action in pre-season yet. 
  • List of QBs he's played with in Tampa: Josh Freeman, Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson, Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Tim Rittay, and Brad Johnson. A lot of QBs for 6 years in.

So that begs the question...what is Clayton worth in a trade? The Bucs lose a lot of negotiating power since it's clear they regret forking over that much dough. Tampa would love to dump that contract if they can, which means ShanAllenhan could probably get him for next to nothing (similar to the Beck trade). Of course, there's always the chance Clayton could be cut. The Redskins do still have multiple, late 2011 round picks...the bigger question is does he fit in? Jon Gruden, his first coach, was a WCO guy and is in the Bill Walsh tree with Shanahan (Gruden under Paul Hackett and Shanahan under George Seifert), so there is some similarities in regards to offense terminology. 

After the jump SB Nation's Bucs' site answers my questions regarding his skills and trade-ability...

 Career Stats

Receiving

Fumbles

 Season

Team

G

 

Rec

Yds

Y/G

Avg

Lng

YAC

1stD

TD

 

Fum

FumL

 

 2004-05

Tampa

16

 

80

1193

74.6

14.9

75

6.5

56

7

 

0

0

 

 2005-06

Tampa

14

 

32

372

26.6

11.6

41

5.5

18

0

 

1

0

 

 2006-07

Tampa

12

 

33

356

29.7

10.8

27

3.7

22

1

 

2

0

 

 2007-08

Tampa

14

 

22

301

21.5

13.7

39

5.8

14

0

 

1

0

 

 2008-09

Tampa

15

 

38

484

32.3

12.7

58

5.3

21

1

 

1

1

 

 2009-10

Tampa

13

 

16

230

17.7

14.4

47

2.6

11

1

 

0

0

 

 Career

84

 

221

2936

35.0

13.3

75

5.4

142

10

 

5

1

 

 

I've always thought of Tampa as a strong market, but they're next pre-season game will be blacked out for a 75-radius market.....EESH. 

What do Tampa fans have to say? I pinged Craig of SB Nation's BucsNation.com on this:

1.) How much stock do you put in this? Clayton signed a 5-year $24 mil deal last year, but has not met expectations and of course has ties to current Redskins GM Bruce Allen.
 
If this rumor comes to fruition, I will pack his bags myself, drive him to the airport, and pay for his flight. 

In all seriousness, yes, I believe this is a distinct possibility. Clayton was signed to the albatross of albatross contracts in GM Mark Dominik's first season after the underperforming Clayton was prepared to visit the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, he hasn't done any better. Some folks thought Gruden was the problem, that the offensive system was the problem, the changing QBs, etc, etc, etc. The problem is Clayton....and nobody's really been able to figure out what happened after his rookie season. He doesn't get open consistently. He is notorious for dropping passes, especially when contact is imminent. He's made statements like "the check is in the bank."     

2.) What do you think is the main reason for his numbers decline since his rookie year? (QB carousel?). His bio on Bucs highlight his excellent route-running and fearlessness running over the middle. 
You've got me. Its been one of the great mysteries around here. However, there's one thing that's been steady throughout all the changes people have mentioned....and that's Clayton hasn't performed. He's the constant among all those variables.

He's not particularly good at either of the aspects you mentioned. If he was, he'd regularly catch more than a pass or two per game. Its tough to count how many times he's dropped the ball as a defender approaches him. If WAS fans are looking for a silver lining, its that he's a tremendous blocker in the running game and can help stretch the running game outside and promulgate some second-level runs. Really, his strengths would make him closer to a tight end than a WR for me....maybe bulk him up and make him a tweener guy like David Martin was/is for the Packers/Dolphins.    

3.) I see he's currently buried on the Bucs depth chart. so, the fact that he's on the bubble, sounds like the Redskins could get him for a real cheap deal...late draft pick....what positions in need are the Bucs of?

There's no doubt the Bucs have needs. Depth along the offensive line is a primary concern for me. Depth at linebacker is needed. A defensive end that can rush the passer. 

This is where I'd normally make my, "Let's trade Heyer for Clayton" joke, but after Heyer's strong game against the Bills, I'm ready to read the next page. The Redskins actually do have to cut a decent DE...Jarmon, Holliday....might as well get a WR back, right?