This Date In Transactions History

This Date In Transactions History: Charles Clay Joins The Bills

Four years ago today, Charles Clay officially went to the Bills on a five-year, $38MM deal. Has the deal been worth it?

The 2011 sixth-round pick out of Tulsa spent the first four seasons of his career in Miami. Between 2013 and 2014, Clay averaged 63.5 receptions for 682 yards and 4.5 touchdowns. The tight end then hit free agency as a transition player, and he garnered a relatively lucrative offer from Buffalo.

Then, on this date in 2015, the Dolphins decided to not match the offer, clearing the way for Clay to officially join the Bills. At the time, the pairing made sense. Then-offensive coordinator Greg Roman planned to capitalize on the tight end’s versatility, as Clay had the ability to line up in multiple formations.

The result? Well, Clay’s numbers through his first three seasons in Buffalo were about on-par with his Miami numbers. The tight end was actually remarkably consistent between 2015 and 2017, compiling at least 49 receptions and 520 receiving yards.

However, the veteran took a major step back in 2018. In 13 games, he hauled in 21 receptions for 184 yards and no touchdowns. With a year remaining on his contract, the Bills moved on from Clay back in February. The move saved Buffalo $4.5MM. Clay ended up catching on with the Cardinals on a one-year, $3.25MM deal.

Was the move ultimately worth it? The ~$7.5MM average annual value was a bit high, although when you also consider Clay’s blocking prowess, you could justify that type of money through the first three years of the deal. Getting little to zero production through the final two seasons isn’t a good look, but the Bills were partly paying for potential, anyway. The contract didn’t work out as planned, but it wasn’t a debilitating deal for the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Falcons Trade For Chris Chandler

Earlier this month, it cost the Broncos a fourth-round pick to acquire Joe Flacco from the Ravens. The former Super Bowl MVP will head into his age-34 season with a chance to rebound in another city.

One of the best possible scenarios for the Broncos would be Flacco giving the team a season like the one Chris Chandler delivered shortly after he was dealt for a package centering around a fourth-round pick.

Twenty-two years ago today, the Falcons landed a long-term starting quarterback for only fourth- and sixth-round picks. Atlanta acquiring a 31-year-old quarterback for late-round picks turned out to be a pivotal exchange. (This was not even the most interesting Chandler trade, with the former Colts third-round pick fetching Indianapolis the 1992 No. 2 overall selection from Tampa Bay in a 1990 swap.)

The primary Houston Oilers starting quarterback from 1995-96, Chandler became expendable after the since-relocated franchise gave the keys to former top-five pick Steve McNair. The latter soon led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance, but the player he replaced reached the NFL’s biggest stage first. Chandler piloted the best season in Falcons history, steering the then-32-year-old organization to a 14-2 record and Super Bowl XXXIII.

A journeyman prior to finding his footing in Georgia, Chandler made two Pro Bowls in a 17-year career. Both came with the Falcons. After landing on the NFC’s 1997 Pro Bowl roster, Chandler secured a four-year, $25MM extension. He rewarded that investment by throwing for 3,154 yards and 25 touchdown passes — both career-high marks — and leading the Falcons to the No. 2 seed in the 1998 NFC playoffs. Chandler then threw for 340 yards and connected on three scoring strikes in the Falcons’ upset win over the Vikings to secure the franchise’s first Super Bowl berth.

Although Atlanta did not fare well against Denver in that game and did not post another winning season with Chandler at the helm, the veteran turned a modest investment into a trip to previously unseen heights. After the Falcons traded up for Michael Vick in 2001, Chandler still started 14 games that season. The Falcons, though, began the full-fledged Vick era in 2002 and released Chandler. He retired after the ’04 season.

The Oilers did not do poorly in making this move, either. They used the 1997 fourth-round pick to select Derrick Mason, who became McNair’s No. 1 target for several years in the early 2000s. Mason played 15 NFL seasons, primarily with the Titans and Ravens.

This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Sign Jay Fiedler

The Dolphins are expected to end their seven-year run with Ryan Tannehill, the longest-tenured starter (albeit with the emergency-circumstances Jay Cutler season interrupting Tannehill’s time atop the depth chart) they’ve had since Dan Marino‘s retirement. On this date 19 years ago, Miami made a move that helped lead to Marino’s exit.

Transitioning from Jimmy Johnson to Dave Wannstedt, the Dolphins signed Fiedler to a three-year, $3.8MM deal — a low-cost accord even in 2000, when the cap rested at $62.2MM. Mark Brunell‘s previous backup in Jacksonville, Fiedler was brought in as a starter-type option despite having started just one game in four previous NFL seasons.

Marino, though, had not yet retired when Fiedler signed. The Miami icon voided the final two years of his contract earlier that February, making him a free agent. Then 38, Marino would have made $7.58MM in 2000 under the terms of his previous contract. He was coming off his worst statistical season (12 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions in 11 games) but did help the Dolphins to a first-round playoff win. Though, the next round saw Fiedler receive extensive work in a 62-7 Jaguars blowout.

That ended up being Marino’s final game. Following the Fiedler signing, Marino retired in March 2000. But this came after an offer emerged from the Vikings. Quarterbacked primarily by Jeff George in 1999, the Vikings offered Marino their starting job. Rather than trek to Minnesota, which would have stood to delay future Dolphin Daunte Culpepper‘s tenure as the Vikings’ starter, Marino retired as the NFL’s leader in every major passing category.

Fiedler ended up playing five seasons with the Dolphins, signing a far more lucrative deal — five years, $25MM — in 2002. He started 59 games with the franchise from 2000-04. Although Fiedler was never a high-end starter, averaging more than 200 passing yards per game in just one season and hitting the 20-touchdown pass threshold once (2001), he led the Dolphins to two playoff berths. He was the starter for Miami’s most recent postseason win — a wild card-round victory over the Colts in 2000 — and piloted the team to an 11-5 record in 2001.

Though Fiedler went 36-23 in his Dolphins starts, Miami moved on after the ’04 season, signing Gus Frerotte to start in 2005. The then-Nick Saban-led Fins, who were involved in the Drew Brees sweepstakes the following year, then traded a second-round pick for Culpepper.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Mario Williams, Arian Foster

Two years ago today, the Dolphins let go of a pair of former Pro Bowlers. The Dolphins terminated the contracts of defensive end Mario Williams and running back Arian Foster, two players who were expected to play bigger roles during their tenures in Miami.

Williams, a former first-overall pick, joined the Dolphins during the 2016 offseason after having been released by the Bills. Miami inked the lineman to a two-year, $17MM deal that included $11.98MM in guaranteed money, an indication that the organization was expecting at least starter-quality production from the four-time Pro Bowler.

Unfortunately, Williams’ lone season with the Dolphins proved to be a dud. Williams appeared in 13 games with the Dolphins, finishing the campaign with only 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defended. Miami released the defensive end on this date in 2017, marking the last time he’s been on an NFL roster. Considering he’s 34 years old and hasn’t played in the NFL in two seasons, his NFL career is presumably over.

The Foster move wasn’t as unexpected nor disappointing as the Williams transaction. Following a standout (albeit injury-riddled) tenure with the Texans, Foster joined the Dolphins to be a backup to Jay Ajayi. The veteran struggled in four games, compiling 55 yards on 22 carries (good for a 2.5-yard average) before being supplanted by rookie Kenyan Drake on the depth chart. Foster ended up announcing his retirement in mid-October, making his subsequent release predictable.

These weren’t the only two moves the Dolphins made two years ago today. The team also let go of defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who has proceeded to play in 30 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. The team also waived cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who hasn’t earned an NFL gig since that day.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Frank Alexander

On this day in 2015, Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander earned his third and final suspension from the NFL. Now, this shouldn’t be confused for a good thing. Rather, the punishment ultimately spelled the end of the player’s NFL career.

The Panthers used a fourth-round selection (No. 104) on the Oklahoma product during the 2012 draft, and it looked the organization may have found a diamond in the rough. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman looked productive during his rookie campaign, compiling a modest 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended in 16 games (three starts). While his counting stats took a step back in 2013, Alexander was just as productive on the field. He finished his sophomore season with 15 tackles, one sack, and two passes defended.

While Alexander was still backing up Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson heading into the 2014 season, he was expected to take on a bigger role on the defensive line. However, during the 2014 offseason, he was handed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He was slapped with another 10-game suspension before the aforementioned suspension ended, and he ended up appearing in a single game during the 2014 season. Presumably no one would have guessed that that’d end up being his final NFL regular season appearance.

Alexander tore his Achilles during the 2015 preseason, and after being waived/injured by the Panthers, he landed on the team’s injured reserve. Then, three years ago today, the defensive end was slapped with a one-year suspension for his third marijuana violation. He was actually one of three Panthers players to be handed a suspension in a two-game span, as defensive end Wes Horton and wide receiver Stephen Hill were punished the day before.

The Panthers didn’t necessarily miss Alexander during that season, as they ended up reaching the Super Bowl. As for Alexander, he was unable to garner much interest from NFL teams, and he ended up catching on with the BC Lions of Canadian Football League. The 28-year-old still hasn’t appeared in a game with his new organization, and it appears that his professional football career has likely come to an end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Dion Jordan Reinstated By NFL

Four years ago today, the NFL reinstated defensive end Dion Jordan from the suspension list. At the time, the Dolphins were expecting the former first-rounder to contribute for the foreseeable future. Little did they know, Jordan would be preparing for his final 10 games in a Dolphins uniform.

The third-overall pick of the 2013 draft had a solid rookie campaign in Miami, finishing the year with 26 tackles, two sacks, and two passes defended. However, prior to his sophomore season, Jordan was slapped with a four-game suspension after violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Several months later, the defensive end was handed another suspension, all leading to him being reinstated four years ago today.

Jordan proceeded to play in the Dolphins final 10 games that year, compiling 20 tackles and a single sack. Unfortunately, things quickly got worse for the Oregon product. Prior to the 2015 season, the NFL found that the defensive end had diluted his test samples. While he didn’t fail a drug test, the diluted sample served as a “third strike,” and Jordan was suspended for the entirety of the 2015 campaign. He was reinstated by the NFL prior to the 2016 season, but he was forced onto the NFI list after recovering from an undisclosed knee surgery. Jordan didn’t play in a single game that season, and he was released by Miami during the 2017 offseason.

It seems like there may be some optimism for Jordan this year. He caught on with the Seahawks in 2017, compiling 18 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble in five games. He re-signed this past offseason, but he’s compiled only a pair of tackles through four contests.

When he was reinstated by the NFL in 2014, no one could have envisioned him playing a rotational role elsewhere only four years later. While it certainly hasn’t gone as planned for the 28-year-old, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Bills Trade Marshawn Lynch To Seahawks

On this date in 2010, the Bills and Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster midseason trade. For the price of a 2011 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2012 draft pick, the Bills said farewell to Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch’s tenure in Buffalo altered between jaw-dropping and headache-inducing for the front office. The running back topped 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons and earned his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2008. Meanwhile, his off-the-field trouble was cause for concern. In the summer of 2008, Lynch admitted to striking a female pedestrian with his car and leaving the scene. In the following spring, Los Angeles cops found a semiautomatic handgun in his car.

The former first-round pick seemed to be back on track early in the 2010 season, having just wrestled the starting job back from Fred Jackson. Still, the phone lines were open in Buffalo, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll pounced on the opportunity to add him to the backfield.

We’re going to bring him in to play a lot,” Carroll said (via the Associated Press). “We’ll wait and see when we get him here, but we’re bringing him in here to play a bunch.” The decision to trade for Lynch ended up working out incredibly well for the Seahawks, as Lynch took his game to a new level in Seattle and became the engine of the offense for their Super Bowl winning team. He went to four Pro Bowls with the Seahawks and was twice named an All-Pro

Lynch ended up announcing his retirement after the 2015 season, but after a year away from the game decided to return. The Seahawks promptly traded him to the Raiders, where Lynch currently plays.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Panthers Acquire Jared Allen

Three years ago today, the Panthers added a much-needed pass rusher to their squad. The team acquired defensive end Jared Allen from the Bears, with Chicago receiving a conditional sixth-round pick in return. While the five-time Pro Bowler had clearly lost a step by the time he made it to North Carolina, he still played a role in helping the Panthers win their conference.

After having spent six seasons with the Vikings, Allen inked a four-year, $32MM deal ($15.5MM) guaranteed with the Bears in 2014. The veteran put up solid stats during his lone full season in Chicago, compiling 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two passes defended. With Vic Fangio hired as defensive coordinator in 2015, Allen was forced to switch from defensive end to linebacker. While he embraced the change, he failed to show the same kind of pass-rushing prowess, compiling only five tackles and zero sacks through the team’s first three games.

Meanwhile, the Panthers found themselves struggling with injuries among their front seven, as Luke Kuechly, Charles Johnson, and Frank Alexander were all hobbled. Having started the season 3-0, the organization decided to add some reinforcement to their defensive line, and they acquired Allen for a conditional pick.

Allen was plenty solid during his tenure with the Panthers, compiling 27 tackles and a pair of sacks in 12 games (12 starts). The veteran sat out the team’s NFC Championship Game victory over the Cardinals, but he returned in time for the Super Bowl. Allen finished that contest with a single tackle, as the Panthers fell to the Broncos, 24-10. Less than two weeks later, Allen announced his retirement, and he subsequently signed a one-day contract with the Vikings.

While Allen certainly isn’t known for his time in North Carolina, the veteran still played an important role in guiding the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Laurence Maroney Trade

September trades are pretty rare in the NFL, but we got one eight years ago today. On this date in 2010, the Patriots traded running back Laurence Maroney (along with a 2011 sixth-round pick) to the Broncos in exchange for a 2011 fourth-round pick.

When the Patriots selected Maroney in the first round of the 2006 draft, they were hoping to get some longterm stability at the position. The Minnesota product certainly looked the part of a three-down back during his rookie campaign. While splitting time with veteran Corey Dillon, Maroney still managed to compile 745 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 175 carries (he also hauled in 22 catches for 194 yards and one score). He became the starting running back during his sophomore campaign, and he took on an ever bigger role during the playoffs.

However, Maroney only appeared in three games during the 2008 season after suffering a shoulder injury, and he struggled with fumbles following his return in 2009. By the time the 2010 season came around, he was buried on the depth chart behind Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk. With BenJarvus Green-Ellis contributing on special teams, the Patriots decided to shop their former first-rounder.

In came the Broncos, who were dealing with a number of running back injuries. Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter were both hobbled, and their replacement, LenDale White, had already torn his Achilles. The team moved down two rounds in the 2011 draft in order to acquire Maroney, who was set to hit free agency following the season. The then-25-year-old ended up starting three of his four games for Denver, compiling only 74 yards on 36 carries. He was later arrested on weapons charges, and the team chose not to re-sign him following the campaign. Maroney’s stint with the Broncos was his last NFL action.

The Patriots ended up trading their acquired pick to the Seahawks for wideout Deion Branch, and Seattle used that pick to select linebacker K.J. Wright. The Broncos used their acquired pick (which was originally owned by the Saints) to select linebacker Mike Mohamed.

The Broncos were presumably hoping for a bit more when they acquired Maroney. Fortunately for the organization, the offense continued to improve over the next few years. Of course, a certain Hall of Famer probably helped with that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Tony Boselli Retires

On this date in 2003, one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the history of the game called it a career. Tackle Tony Boselli, the first ever draft pick of the Jaguars, retired at the age of 31. 

Soon after being drafted with the No. 2 pick in the 1995 draft, Boselli established himself as one of the best players in Jacksonville. He earned five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1996-2000 with three First-Team All-Pro selections coming in 97-99. The Jaguars reached the postseason in four of their first five seasons in existence, and Boselli played a huge role in their success.

Unfortunately, injuries started to chip away at Boselli in 2001 and he appeared in only three games that season. In February 2002, the Jaguars made Boselli one of their five exposed players for the Texans’ expansion draft. With the very first pick, Houston took on Boselli’s $6.883MM cap figure, but they did not get the All-Pro they were expecting.

I am retiring because of medical reasons, specifically my left shoulder, which did not continue to improve to the point where I could play,” said Boselli as he announced his retirement.

Boselli’s career was relatively short, but highly impactful. In seven seasons with the Jaguars, Boselli allowed only 15.5 sacks and cemented his legacy as one of the Jaguars’ most important players of all-time.

Boselli signed a one-day deal to retire with the Jaguars in 2006 and became the first inductee into the team’s Hall of Fame. Still, the football Hall of Fame eludes him. In 2018, Boselli was denied entry in his 12th year of eligibility and his second year as a finalist.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.