Bucs to pick up option on CB Hargreaves

NFL

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are picking up the fifth-year option on cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the team announced Wednesday night. It will keep him with the club through 2020 and earn him $9 million.

The deadline to pick up fifth-year options for 2016 NFL draft picks is May 3. Hargreaves was the 11th overall pick that year and the third cornerback selected, behind Jalen Ramsey and Eli Apple.

Though injuries have limited Hargreaves to 10 games over the past two seasons, and he struggled playing off-coverage under former defensive coordinator Mike Smith, new head coach Bruce Arians has expressed confidence in his potential in Todd Bowles’ scheme, which will allow Hargreaves to return to his preference of press-man coverage.

“I think Vernon has all the talent in the world, he works hard, is smart,” Arians said at last month’s owners meetings, pointing to injuries as a culprit for some of Hargreaves’ stumbles. “Why can’t he be successful? He’s just gotta stay healthy.”

Hargreaves is now the 10th member of the 2016 draft class to have his fifth-year option picked up, along with Jared Goff, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Ronnie Stanley, DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Rankins, Laremy Tunsil, Keanu Neal and William Jackson.

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