4:13pm: After the Dolphins formally declared their intention not to match Buffalo’s offer sheet, the Bills have officially announced the signing of Clay.
3:08pm: According to James Walker of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the paperwork has officially been filed by the Dolphins to the NFL, confirming their decision and making Clay a Bill.
10:24am: The Dolphins have decided not to match the Bills’ offer sheet for tight end Charles Clay, according to Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). While the team has a few more days to change its mind, Miami is moving on, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), paving the way for Clay to become a member of the Bills.
Clay, who turned 26 last month, saw his numbers dip a little in 2014 after he set career highs with 69 receptions, 759 yards, and three touchdowns in his breakout 2013 season. Still, the Dolphins liked him enough to make him their transition player, assigning him a one-year tender worth $7.071MM.
The transition tag essentially makes a free agent restricted, allowing his current team to match any offer sheet from a rival suitor. However, Miami won’t receive any compensation for losing him now that the team has decided not to match Buffalo’s offer.
That Bills’ offer was a massive one — Buffalo will lock up Clay for five years at a price tag of $38MM, and the deal includes more than $20MM in guaranteed money, according to reports. The former sixth-round pick is the latest offensive weapon to join Rex Ryan in Western New York, following recent additions LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin to the Bills.
As for the Dolphins, while they lose Clay, they also free up some cap space by removing his $7MM+ transition offer from their books. The team has also lined up a replacement already, signing Jordan Cameron last week to join Dion Sims at the tight end position.