PewterReport.com is reporting that the Buccaneers are picking up the fifth-year option for cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. The deadline for making the fifth-year option declarations occurs next week. Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, PewterReport.com reported that the team was expected to pick up the fifth-year option. The team made that decision official on Wednesday night.

Hargreaves’ fifth-year option is north of $9 million for the 2020 season and the Bucs could rescind that offer and cut him after if he doesn’t perform well in 2019. That could be a bargain if Hargreaves stays healthy and plays well in Todd Bowles’ new press man coverage scheme – and that’s a big if, as Hargreaves has missed 22 games over the past two years due to injury.

“It’s everything that I do,” Hargreaves said when asked about his excitement for playing in Bowles’ defense. “It’s kind of like taking me back to college. It’s that same scheme – blitz the quarterback, man-to-man on the outside and let’s get after it.”

Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The cornerback market has exploded in recent years with 17 players making at least $10 millions or more per year, including Kareem Jackson, who signed with Denver for $11 million per year this offseason at age 31.

Hargreaves is slated to earn $2,383,317 in base salary this year and has a cap value of $4,511,076 due to the 2019 portion of the $8,511,026 signing bonus he received back in 2016.

Tampa Bay traded down with Chicago from the ninth overall pick to the 11th selection to draft Hargreaves, who became an instant starter in a trial-by-fire rookie season. Hargreaves gave up the most receiving yards of any cornerback as a rookie, starting 16 games and recording 76 tackles, nine pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception.

Hargreaves struggled in his second season, playing in just nine games with seven starts as he dealt with confidence issues and a hamstring injury, which prompted him to go on injured reserve after recording 42 tackles and five pass breakups. Hargreaves found his confidence and played much better in the 2018 training camp and preseason, but was lost for the year with a shoulder injury in Week 1 that required surgery after he notched seven tackles, one pass breakup and a forced fumble.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht picked up the fifth-year options of former first-round picks wide receiver Mike Evans (2014) and quarterback Jameis Winston (2015) over the last two years.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

14 COMMENTS

  1. I like that our organization believes in VH3 and overall, believes in the players they draft (D Smith, Marpet, Winston, etc). I hope the players return the love on that belief this year with some excellent play! I’ll be cheering for them!

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  2. I like this Move. Vhlll was starting to come around before the injury and was poised for a breakout year. Coaching was his biggest set back and I believe we’ll start seeing a few of these player blossom that were borderline busts because of better coaching. Hopefully Noah Spence can rebound and become that pass rusher we thought we were drafting.

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  3. Bucs continuing their offseason trend of resigning their own below average players to above average money

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  4. Interesting gamble. It seems the organization still believes in their evaluation of VH3’s tape from college. Lets see if a coaching and scheme change will reinforces that evaluation.

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  5. @brandonges clearly you missed the part where they just picked up his option. They didn’t resign him to anything and if he stinks it up or gets injured, they can still release him. Get with it people.

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  6. I hate his hair. Looks like my ex-girlfriend.

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  7. Unless we pick up or draft another CB we don’t have much of a choice…
    Hopefully he stays healthy and if he plays well he will be worth it, if not then we can find a replacement…

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    Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
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  8. I hope he proves us all wrong and has a great year as an outside press corner. He better not get hurt. If he does, he’s toast.

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  9. So, we take the fifth year option for “potential”, but waited until the last minute when Kwon hit the open market and couldn’t afford him. Puts us in the position to have to use a premium draft pick on a position that was set. [yeah, still smarting from that…]

    I’m hoping Hargreaves makes it, but rewarding a guy for not performing is just an overreaction for losing guys like Kwon and Hump.

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  10. @chefboho They extended him. The fifth year option is guaranteed for injury. If he ends up on IR again, which he has in 2 of his 3 seasons, he’ll fail his physical and the option becomes guaranteed. Get with it people.

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  11. I don’t doubt his talent or ability at all. He was on fire in camp last year and was playing great then hurt week 1. I just really hope the guy can stay healthy at his point you have to kind of feel like that’s a long shot, but who knows. Hope I’m wrong and he just had lot bad luck.

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  12. Again, you clearly don’t know what extended means! That’s a new contract. THIS IS NOT!! If he gets injured his contract is still only for THAT YEAR, but if he doesn’t and doesn’t play well they can cut him. When you extend someone it’s for multiple years so I’ll say again, get with it

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  13. A fifth year option is always offered for players drafted in the first round. So no, it’s not an “extended contract”

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  14. Have fun arguing semantics with a stranger on the internet, Chef

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