It was a move that not a lot of people saw coming. The Dolphins had a shot to match the offer sheet for tight end Charles Clay, and instead allowed him to move to the rival Buffalo Bills. Find out how the draft picks will influence the NFL betting odds at Mybookie.ag.
Last season catching passes from Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, he pulled in 58 passes for 603 yards and three scores. In his career he has 161 catches for 1809 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He was a part of the Dolphins offense that saw Tannehill look to him in tight spaces, but at the end of the day the team felt that the deal which will pay him $24.5 million in guaranteed money was just too much for a player who put up 127 catches the last two seasons.
Clay sounded all too happy to get away from the Dolphins, and will join the new look Bills with loud head coach Rex Ryan who comes to Buffalo from New York, where the Jets fired him the day after the 2014 season ended.
“I don’t care if we throw the ball 50 times a game, we run the ball 50 times a game,” Clay said.
“At the end of the day, I just want to win. That’s what it all boils down to in this league, is wins and losses, so if we’re running the ball 50 times a game and we’re winning, I don’t think anyone will be complaining.”
The Bills went out of their way to impress Clay, flying him to Buffalo on Terry and Kim Pegula’s private plane. Sending it down to Florida to head to Western New York just for him to visit.
It was enough to show Clay just how much they wanted him, and was enough for him to finally put his name on the bottom line.
“When you look at the organization as a whole, new owners, new coaching staff, a lot of the moves they made this offseason, I was kind of intrigued by it before I even took my visit,” Clay said.
“I could kind of get a sense that they were a team that they were on the rise, you know they were a team that was looking to win right away. That’s definitely something I was excited to have an opportunity to be a part of.”
How much were the Dolphins willing to give Clay? The team used a $7 million transition tag, and according to sources that was above where contract talks had reached with the tight end.
Putting the $8.2 million franchise tag on Clay would have effectively been $1.4 million more than what Clay was asking at the time on a one-year basis.
While it would have been nice to keep him, the Dolphins saw the writing on the wall. Clay will be missed, but the price tag wasn’t enough for the Dolphins to keep him around.