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Signing Charles Clay Fails To Get Buffalo Back In The Playoffs

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Michael Adamucci/Getty Images

When you sign a guy in free agency and make him one the NFL's highest-paid players at his position, you do it for only one reason: because you believe that player will prove to be the missing piece your franchise needs to get to get back to the playoffs, in the Buffalo Bills' case, for the first time in nearly two decades. Looking back now, you can't really blame the Bills' front office; after all, when Buffalo finished 8-8 in 2014, four of those eight losses were by seven points or fewer, and the added bonus of swiping one of the Dolphins' best offensive weapons had to be enticing to newly signed Bills head coach Rex Ryan. However, like many great men whom, for all their bombast and bluster never learn the meaning of subtlety, Ryan made sure that the Bills grossly overpaid for Clay with a contract that still hampers the team to this day. Before the 2015 free agency period even began, Rexy stated publicly that the Bills were going all in on signing Clay away from the Dolphins.

In the weeks leading up to the 1999 college draft, then Saints head coach Mike Ditka told anyone who would listen that he wanted only one player in the entire draft: University of Texas running back Ricky Williams. Accordingly, the Saints traded virtually their entire collection of picks that year (one draft choice had already been sent to St. Louis for WR Eddie Kennison) for the right to select Williams. When you tell the world you're willing to pay just about anything for something or someone, you usually wind up paying just about everything. Just as Ditka had to have Ricky Williams in the Spring of '99, Rex Ryan, during the 2015 offseason, was determined to sign former Dolphins TE Charles Clay. After learning of the Bills eye-popping contract offer, the Dolphins wisely opted to let Clay leave for Western New York. Not only has Clay's arrival thus far failed to result in a playoff berth for the Bills, in two years with the team, his receptions, yards, and touchdowns still aren't what they were when he played for Miami.

Despite all the gloom and doom predictions from Dolphin fans about the size of Ndamukong Suh's contract, Miami today ranks 14th in available cap space for the upcoming 2017 season, even with Suh and quarterback Ryan Tannehill both being among the highest paid at their positions in the league. Buffalo, in no small part due to Clay being guaranteed a whopping 64.5% of his 38 million dollar contract, which amounts to an obscene $4.9 million average in guaranteed money per year, comes in at 20th. This is probably one reason why former Bills GM Doug Whaley is no longer with the team. Who knows; perhaps if the Bills grow weary of Clay's contract, and his balky knee holds up, Charles could someday make his way back to the Dolphins again. Just let his agent know that we don't intend to overpay.