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 to match 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 then force the Dolphins 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.