The 30-year-old tight end was released by Buffalo on Friday after playing out four seasons of a five-year, $38 million contract. He'll settle for a much smaller figure this time around, receiving a $350,000 signing bonus on a deal that maxes out at $3.25 million including incentives, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Clay likely will challenge Ricky Seals-Jones (neck) for playing time, with more help possibly on the way once the Cardinals survey the landscape during free agency and the draft. It also won't come as any surprise if team ultimately releases 30-year-old blocking specialist Jermaine Gresham.
Clay was released by the Bills on Friday, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com reports.
Signed to a five-year, $38 million contract during the 2015 offseason, Clay never quite lived up to his paycheck but did start 53 games the past four seasons despite dealing with a number of injuries. Friday's transaction clears up $4.5 million on the 2019 cap sheet while leaving the Bills with Jason Croom and Logan Thomas (a restricted free agent) at tight end. Clay celebrated his 30th birthday earlier in the week and may have to settle for a part-time role on the open market.
Clay finished the 2018 season with just 21 catches on 36 targets for 184 yards over 13 games. He did not find the end zone.
Clay looks nowhere near the player that was once a big problem for secondaries, as this was his lowest output since the 2012 season, production nowhere near commesurate with his five-year, $38 million contract. He still has one year left on the deal, but his numbers are so far off from what the Bills are paying for -- not to mention he's almost always on the injury report -- there's talk the Bills might let him go a year early and reboot the position.
Clay (coach's decision) is listed as inactive Sunday against New England.
Clay has seen his workload reduced significantly during the back half of the season, as he's been targeted just five totals times since Week 8 (though a hamstring injury played at least a bit of a role in that). He's still been able to make the active roster, however, as Buffalo never had a week with both Jason Croom and Logan Thomas at 100 percent. According to Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com, that tight end duo is healthy this week, leaving the 29-year-old Clay as a healthy scratch.
Clay was targeted just once in Sunday's win over the Lions and finished without a catch on 41 offensive snaps.
Clay was a good fantasy receiver at one point in his career but those days are long over, at least in this offense. He's simply not being looked at in the passing game, with just five targets over the last three games since he returned from a hamstring injury. Clay has somehow failed to find the end zone all season, while his game high in catches is four and yardage is 40. Ouch. He signed a five-year, $38 million contract with the Bills in March of 2015, but we imagine the relationship may be coming to a close soon.
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