Charles Clay has been released from his contract with the Buffalo Bills, after four years with the team. The team announced their transaction late Friday afternoon. Clay was due to receive $9 million in 2019 for the final year of his contract, but the Bills will clear $4.5 million of that cap space with his release.
Clay had his worst professional season in 2018, with 21 receptions for 184 yards and no touchdowns for the Bills. He started twelve games last year and ended the season as a healthy scratch. In his Bills career, Clay maxed out with 57 catches, 552 yards, and four touchdowns in the 2016 season. Ultimately, the Bills paid Clay $33.5 million for four years of average tight end performance, and the team wasn’t keen on another year at that level of salary.
Neither were Buffalo Bills fans, who we polled earlier in the offseason. Only 16% of fans wanted to see the Bills keep Clay on his current salary.
The only remaining tight end on Buffalo’s roster is tight end Jason Croom. Logan Thomas is also a restricted free agent. If the team wanted to search other NFL teams for a replacement, some of the top names include Jared Cook, Jesse James, and Tyler Eifert.
The team will have plenty of replacement options available in the 2019 NFL Draft. Out of this year’s strong group, the top three include Iowa’s T.J. Hockensen and Noah Fant, and Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. Talented names persist into the mid rounds of the draft. So the Bills wouldn’t need to sell out for a new player with their first-round pick.