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Gone: Miami Dolphins not matching Charles Clay deal

Tight end Charles Clay is a Buffalo Bills player now.

A source today texted the entire Earth saying the Miami Dolphins will not match the five-year, $38 million deal Clay got in an offer sheet from Buffalo.

The same source then went into spin mode, saying the Dolphins feel "strongly about Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims going forward."

They felt so strongly they had a $7 million transition tag on Clay so I'm not buying that piece of swamp land. Face it, Clay, Cameron and Sims is way, way better than Cameron, Sims and probably a draft pick.

But I understand the reasoning behind not matching. The Clay offer from the Bills was onerous and reportedly included a $12 million cap charge in 2016.

Too onerous for the Dolphins, apparently.

The fact Clay goes to Buffalo means the Dolphins now free up $7 million in cap space. And so the team is now free to shop in free agency.

That's the reason WR Michael Crabtree continues his visit with Miami today. That's the reason backup center J.D. Walton (New York Giants) and backup QB Tarvaris Jackson (Seattle Seahawks) are visiting the Dolphins today.

The fact the reserve QB and center are visiting should tell you the Dolphins are more than prepared to move on from Samson Satele and Matt Moore -- both of whom are also unrestricted free agents. Satele, I'm told, wants to go someplace he can compete to start after he did a good job as Miami's starter all of last season. He would not have that opportunity again in Miami with Mike Pouncey moving back to center.

The Dolphins have now effectively traded, cut or let walk in free agency four pass catchers. Mike Wallace was traded to Minnesota. Brian Hartline was cut and signed with Cleveland. Brandon Gibson was cut and signed with New England. And Clay is with the Bills.

So the men who caught 16 of Miami's 27 TDs and 193 of the team's 392 completions are gone. All of them are done, primarily, for salary cap vs. production vs. fit reasons.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is going to have to adjust and learn his new set of primary receivers -- Kenny Stills, Cameron, perhaps Crabtree, perhaps a draft pick, fairly quickly. He may also lose his sounding board -- Moore -- from the quarterback room.

Jackson over Moore would obviously also be a cap decision. The Dolphins paid Moore $4 million last season. Jackson made less than $2 million in Seattle.

Much of this is an outgrowth of the $114 million Ndamukong Suh signing and pending big contracts for Pouncey, Olivier Vernon and Tannehill. The cap is the cap. If you pay over there, it is hard to pay over here as well.

The Bills, who finished 9-7 last season and ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East, have this offseason hired Rex Ryan as coach, added Clay at tight end, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Percy Harvin, and Matt Cassel at quarterback. They already had WR Sammy Watkins.

The team did lose running back C.J. Spiller to New Orleans.

 

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