TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a big decision to make regarding the future of defensive end Adrian Clayborn, and they don’t have much time to make it.
By May 3, the team must decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Clayborn’s rookie contract or allow him to become a free agent in 2015.
Clayborn said he has heard nothing from team officials indicating what direction they plan to go on the matter, adding that he’s not really sure it matters.
“Even if they do (pick up the option), it’s not guaranteed,’’ Clayborn said Wednesday. “So, I still have to come out and have a good year.’’
The cost of keeping Clayborn is $6.969 million, which the Bucs might deem too much for a left end who has played sporadically since he came to the team.
A first-round pick (20th overall) in 2011, Clayborn had 7.5 sacks as a rookie right end, but missed all but three games of his second season with a knee injury. Clayborn came back last year, but recorded only 5.5 sacks.
The Bucs signed right end Michael Johnson in free agency, which sparked Clayborn’s move to left end.
“It’s been a rough two years for me, being hurt and then last year not playing well when I wanted to,’’ Clayborn said. “But this system is really primed for me to have a good year. It’s up to me to make it happen.’’