The Miami Dolphins have five days to match an offer sheet signed by tight end Charles Clay with the Buffalo Bills.
The Buffalo Bills are not joking around. After weeks of hotly rumored interest, the Bills have finally finished their offer sheet for Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay and Clay signed as a result. The Dolphins now have five days to match the offer, which was first reported by Vic Carucci at The Buffalo News.
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The deal offers an average just a tick more than the $7 million for which the Dolphins tendered Clay’s rights with a transition tag. The team kept Clay from becoming an unrestricted free agent while holding the rights to match any offer made as a result.
Of course, such a move put the Dolphins in a tough space as Miami was among the most aggressive squads in free agency at its onset, signing the gem of the class in former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The team made a huge six-year offer to Suh, which only counts for $6 million against the 2015 salary cap. So what did the Bills do that they think will make their offer unmatchable? Simply attack the vulnerable 2016 salary cap figure which rockets by around $20 million for Miami.
The Suh contract will reportedly hit Miami for over $25 million in cap space, which makes it a no-brainer for Buffalo to bump Clay’s salary in 2016, when the Bills still have plenty of cap space. Buffalo wanted to keep the 2015 figure at a reasonable level as well, which made this offer especially tricky.
To their credit, the Miami Dolphins already had a contingency plan in place for the possibility of losing Clay. The team signed former Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron to a two-year deal worth up to $15 million. They had reportedly still been interested in retaining Clay, but no long-term deal came as a result of those reports.
Instead it’s the Bills who have stepped up with a big long-term offer that they hope will go unmatched. Whoever ends up signing Clay will do so with a contract that makes the former sixth-round pick the fourth-highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
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