Buffalo Bills: Charles Clay a potential free-agent target?


With free agency a little over two weeks away, speculation and rumors are starting to fly around the NFL.

For the Buffalo Bills, their needs are quite obvious. A veteran quarterback or two, a running back, depth at receiver, and an upgrade at the tightened position. Although some of these needs will be filled through the draft, one position that looks like it could be addressed in free agency is the tight end position.

Dec 22, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end

Charles Clay

(42) is tackled by Buffalo Bills wide receiver

Chris Hogan

(15) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Dolphins 19-0. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

There have been multiple reports that the Buffalo Bills will be targeting veteran tight end Charles Clay. There is no doubt that Clay would be an upgrade over any tight end on the current roster. It is essential that the Bills upgrade the position, due to the fact that new offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s offense heavily relies on the tight end.

After being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round in 2011 out of Tulsa (174th overall), Clay has spent his first four seasons with Miami. His first two seasons, he was used on a limited basis, as he hauled in 34 passes, for 445 yards and five touchdowns.

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It wasn’t until his third season where Clay would make a major impact. He went on to have a career year, catching 69 passes for 759 yards and six touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown as well. After the season, Clay was voted as a top 100 player in the NFL (voted on by the players), as he ranked 89th.

This past season, Clay would have to battle through some injuries, so there was a slight decline in his production. Despite missing two games, Clay caught 58 passes for 605 yards and three touchdowns.

The one thing that stands out about Clay is that he is rather small for a tight end, at 6’3” and 255 pounds. But at just 26 years of age, Clay still has his best years ahead of him. During the last four years, Scott Chandler has been a decent target for Buffalo. He has a big body and a solid pair of hands. But what Chandler lacks, Clay excels in.

In the running game, Buffalo has lacked consistency in blocking from their tight ends. Lee Smith has done an exceptional job over the past four years, but he isn’t a threat in the passing game. Clay could step in and do it all. It’s no surprise that the Bills will be a run-heavy offense, so Clay would can be very effective at taking on blockers and opening up holes for the running backs. The addition of Clay would significantly improve the Bills’ 25th ranking in total rushing yards in the NFL, as well as a 26th rank in the league in yards per attempt.

In the pass game, Clay adds much needed speed at the position. He is very shifty when running routes, which helps his get open often. He is also one of the league’s best at making adjustments mid route, which help him escape defenders and make difficult catches. Clay would take some attention away from wide receivers Sammy Watkins or Robert Woods, which would definitely benefit the pass game.

It won’t be too long until we find out if the Bills will take a run at landing one of the top tight end free agent targets in Charles Clay. If we know one thing, it’s that he would step in and be an instant upgrade over any tight end on the roster.

Whether it’s EJ Manuel or a veteran the Bills elect to bring in at quarterback, Clay will be a legitimate weapon anywhere on the field. If it’s third down, or a red zone play, Clay has had success in the NFL, and will continue it if the Bills were to bring him in. He will have a major impact on the success of the offense in 2015, so it would be a great signing by general manager Doug Whaley.

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