A glut of wide receivers does not necessarily mean that the Buffalo Bills have a tremendous amount of talent at the position heading into the 2018 season. However, the team does have quite a few players with an intriguing mix of potential and physical skills.
In the latest installment in our “90 players in 90 days” series, we look at a wide receiver who played for both the Carolina Panthers and the Bills last season.
Name: Kaelin Clay
Height/Weight: 5’10” 195 lbs.
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Clay signed a one-year deal with the Bills that will pay him $720,000 in 2018. $90,000 of that is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus.
2017 Recap: Clay began the season with the Carolina Panthers. After playing out the duration of the preseason with the team, he was traded to the Bills (along with Carolina’s 2019 seventh-round pick) in a swap that netted the Panthers cornerback Kevon Seymour. Clay appeared in 4 games with the Bills. He returned 2 punts, gaining 2 yards, and was targeted 4 times in the passing game. He hauled in one of those passes, a 28-yard reception against the Denver Broncos. Buffalo waived him on October 23, and the Panthers claimed him on waivers the following day. With Carolina, he caught 5 of 15 targets, totaling 57 yards receiving. He also returned 3 kicks for 52 yards, and 17 punts for 147 yards and a touchdown.
Positional outlook: Clay is one of 13 players fighting for space on the Bills’ roster at the receiver position. Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones appear to be safe as the team’s starters, and Jeremy Kerley projects as the team’s starting slot reciever. That leaves Clay to battle Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Brandon Reilly, Quan Bray, Cam Phillips, Robert Foster, Malachi Dupre, Ray-Ray McCloud, and Austin Proehl for the remaining spots on the roster.
2018 Offseason: Clay has worked mostly with the third-team and rookie quarterback Josh Allen thus far during OTAs and minicamp.
2018 season outlook: Clay’s return ability gives him a leg up on some of the other receivers, as does his familiarity with head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. However, the Bills had him on the roster last season and decided not to keep him, even after dumping a promising young player in Seymour to acquire Clay’s services. If his speed and return ability shines in camp, Clay has a shot to make the roster, but he will have to outplay other veterans with special-teams ability like Holmes and Streater, as well as rookies with greater upside (Proehl, McCloud, and Foster). And that’s before mentioning second-year players who have already seen first-team reps (Brandon Reilly and Malachi Dupre). Clay is on the outside looking in.