The NFL opened for business just yesterday, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have wasted no time getting work done. In addition to signing a slew of undrafted free agents, the Bucs have agreed to terms with three of their 2011 draft picks: first round pick Adrian Clayborn, third round pick Mason Foster, and seventh round pick Daniel Hardy.
Adrian Clayborn is the first first-round pick to sign with a team, although it doesn’t sound like there was much haggling done over his contract. From Bucs Nation:
Clayborn will sign a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year based on the salary of the 3rd through 25th most highly paid players at his position in that year. The length of the agreement and the option were prescribed by the new NFL CBA and were hence not up for negotiation.
Clayborn will enter in and help the Bucs’ defense immediately, likely opening the season as the Bucs’ starting right end. He’s a very strong player and excels at shutting down the run, which is an area the Bucs have needed help in. While his senior year was slightly disappointing after his impressive junior year — 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks sets the bar somewhat high — but he still had 52 tackles and 3.5 sacks, and scouting reports widely rate him as an excellent defensive player. He was a very safe draft pick for the Bucs, so here’s hoping he’s contributing to the Bucs’ defense for years to come.
The Bucs are the only team to sign any of their draft picks yet, but by signing these players so early, it ensures that they will be able to attend training camp right from the beginning. As the Bucs had a very impressive haul in the NFL Draft, it’s likely they want to get these players into their system and contributing as quickly as possible.