Buccaneers Release WR Michael Clayton

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released wide receiver Michael Clayton, Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Clayton's $3 million base salary, and the arrivals of 2010 draft picks Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, and the progress of 2009 seventh-round pick Sammie Stroughter, have pushed him off the roster.

A first-round pick (15th overall) by the Buccaneers out of LSU in 2004, the 6-3, 215-pound Clayton made an instant impact, catching 80 passes for 1,193 yards and 7 touchdowns as a rookie.

Clayton struggled to stay in the starting lineup the next three years, but was still re-signed to a five-year, $24 million contract last off-season, which included $10.5 million in guarantees.

In the first year of that contract, Clayton started 11 of 13 games, catching 38 passes for 484 yards and a touchdown. Clayton slid down the depth chart this pre-season, catching two of the four passes thrown his way for 17 yards.

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