Teams rarely use the transition tag, instead using the franchise tag. A club can use one of either per year, but cannot use both in the same season. The transition tag does not prevent a free agent from negotiating with a new team, but does give the original team the right to match any offers. The tag pays the player the average of the top 10 salaries at the position from the previous season.
In four seasons with the Dolphins, Clay, who was the team's sixth-round pick in 2011, has appeared in 58 games, recording 161 receptions for 1,809 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had a down year in 2014, recording 58 catches for 605 yards and three touchdowns, all below his 2013 total, but he also missed two games and was hampered by various injuries throughout the season.
Clay is coming off his rookie contract, which paid him an average of $538,000 per yeaar over the last four seasons. He earned $1.4 million last season.