Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay has underperformed his contract but it’s difficult to lay the entire blame at his feet when his passing offense has been among the worst in the NFL. If Buffalo made the decision to move on from Clay, Nick O’Leary presents an intriguing option and one that has some history.
With Clay sidelined for three and a half games in 2017, O’Leary had the opportunity to show what he can do. In his three starts he was targeted 10 times, catching 7 passes for 114 yards. That’s nearly the same yards per game average (38.2) that Clay averaged on the season (40.9). Add in his very good blocking skill set and he has shown he could be a fill-in replacement, at least.
Throughout the 2017 season, O’Leary actually outgained Clay in yards per target, with a 10.06 to 7.54 average, and in yards per reception where he won 14.64 to 11.39. Both tight ends had two touchdowns.
With two one-dimensional tight ends behind him in Khari Lee (blocking) and Logan Thomas (receiving), O’Leary is the only tight end that could step into the starting role. The combination of depth and versatility that both Clay & O’Leary offer together is too good for the Bills to move on from in 2018, but if they pulled the trigger, they could do worse than O’Leary as the replacement.