The Buffalo Bills’ pursuit of Charles Clay, the tight end on whom the Miami Dolphins placed a transition tag, keeps getting more interesting by the day.
And, as The News learned Thursday night, it is far from over.
Three days after arriving in Buffalo from South Florida on the private jet of Bills co-owners Terry and Kim Pegula – Boca Raton, Fla., residents who accompanied him on the ride – Clay returned to South Florida, also courtesy of the Pegulas’ private aircraft, according to an NFL source. The Bills announced Tuesday that Clay was visiting their facility. It is known he also looked at potential housing during his stay.
The Bills were expected to present Clay with an offer sheet by Thursday, structuring it in such a way that the Dolphins would be discouraged from matching it to retain him. The offer never came, and Clay decided he wanted to return home, the source said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, the Dolphins signed another tight end, former Cleveland Brown Jordan Cameron, to a contract. However, an NFL source said the Dolphins still would like to keep Clay. It is possible that the signing of Cameron (plus other moves they have made) could force them to remove Clay’s transition tag, which would give them five days to match any offer he receives, and try to negotiate a long-term deal with the tight end.
That carries a risk, because once the tag comes off, Clay becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign anywhere. According to a league source, the Bills are prepared to submit an offer to Clay, if the tag stays in place, or would swoop in with an offer if it comes off.
The Browns are known to have strong interest in Clay as well, but, the source said, he is expected to either return to the Dolphins or join the Bills.
Meanwhile, for the second time in as many days, a new Bills quarterback talked about a wide-open competition at the position.
This time, however, the speaker wasn’t a 10-year veteran who has had plenty of experience as a starter. It was a player with four years in the NFL, with no starts.
“No one is really ahead of the other guy right now,” Tyrod Taylor said of the conversations he had with the Bills during a news conference after the club announced his signing Thursday. “They’re looking forward to us coming in and pushing each other to make this team better.”
By “us,” Taylor, a former Baltimore Raven, is talking about the Bills’ other newcomer on the quarterback depth chart, Matt Cassel, and incumbents EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel. Cassel also spoke of competing for the starting job during a Wednesday news conference.
In terms of NFL accomplishment, Taylor ranks behind Manuel, who has 14 career starts, and Tuel, who despite having played only two games, has made one start. In 14 games for the Ravens, Taylor, 25, completed 19 of 35 passes for 199 yards, and threw two interceptions.
“I have tremendous confidence in my ability, of course,” said Taylor, whom the Ravens made a sixth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech in 2011. “People know that I can run, but my thing is just to continue to show people that I can throw the football, which I can do and people know. It is something that I have to continue to prove and I am looking forward to doing that. I cannot wait to get after it.”
In other developments Thursday, the Bills re-signed wide receiver/special-teams ace Marcus Easley to a four-year contract and reached an agreement to do the same with defensive end Jarius Wynn.
In the last two seasons, Easley has made 34 special-teams tackles, second most in the NFL since 2013. Since joining the Bills as a fourth-round draft pick from Connecticut in 2010, he has appeared in 29 games.
Easley spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons on the injured-reserve list and was on the Bills’ practice squad during the 2012 season.
The way the Bills were spending, Easley said Thursday, “I was wondering how much money they had left.
“Just waiting on my time, it was just a matter of I wanted to be here and they wanted me here. It was just a matter of coming to an agreement on a specific number. I’m more than happy. They’re happy to have me back and I’m just ready to get back to work.”
Easley said it seems the team has a “whole new vibe” under new coach Rex Ryan.