Charles Clay’s time in Western New York is officially over, after the Buffalo Bills decided to release the tight end on Friday.
As reported by Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, the Bills have released Clay. The move will result in $4.5 million of dead cap money against next season’s salary cap.
On the flip side, cutting the tight end also saves the team $4.5 million. At the time of posting, the Bills have around $83.4 million of cap space for the 2019 season, which puts them near the top of the league and in an excellent position to strengthen the roster.
However, Buffalo will now move forward without Clay, who had one year remaining on his contract. In this respect, it brings a disappointing end to what was a productive but ultimately underachieving tenure in Western New York.
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When the Bills originally signed the 2011 sixth round draft pick to a five-year deal in March 2015, it was rightly heralded as an excellent coup. Apart from snatching him away from their divisional rivals, the Miami Dolphins, they were also getting one of the top tight ends in the NFL.
Along those lines, Clay came as advertised during his first three years in Buffalo, averaging 52 receptions, 546 yards and three touchdowns per season. In addition, he was an extremely effective blocker.
Unfortunately for the player and the team, his productivity dipped dramatically in 2018. He finished the season with career lows for receiving yards, average yards per catch and touchdowns.
Admittedly, Clay was not helped by various injury issues. However, given that the team gave him rest days every week, these injuries seemed to allude to his body beginning to break down.
Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane recently sent out a letter to season ticket holders. In that letter, he essentially asked fans to be patient, as the team undergoes a long-term plan to become genuine contenders.
Releasing Clay only highlights this approach. The Bills will need to look long and hard to find a tight end who can reproduce at a similar level to him pre-2018.
You imagine there is a lot of regret that Buffalo could not take advantage of the Little Rock, Arkansas native’s best years. As much as some critics believed the team should have gotten more from him, he was one of the few reliable targets in a poor passing game.
Moving forward, we now wait to see if Clay still has a future somewhere else. With the knee issues which have dogged him his entire time in the NFL, he may well decide it’s time to call it a career.
Do you agree with the decision to release Clay, or would you have brought him back for the final year of his contract? Regardless, what is your main takeaway from his time with the Buffalo Bills? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.