Tight end Clay excited to be part of revamped Bills offense
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Charles Clay saw the Buffalo Bills as a team on the rise before he entered free agency.
When the Bills made the tight end one of their top free agent priorities, Clay was eager to leave the Miami Dolphins to join a division rival.
The Bills’ courtship of Clay lasted more than a week, but now that it has been completed, Clay is excited to be part of Buffalo’s revamped offense.
“When you look at the organization as a whole, new owners, new coaching staff, a lot of moves made this offseason, I was kind of intrigued by it before I even took my visit,” Clay said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters in Buffalo.
“I got the sense that they were a team on the rise.”
The Bills made Clay one of their top free-agent targets. He traveled by private jet to Buffalo on March 10, the first day of the league’s signing period, and spent several days in the area before signing a five-year, $38 million contract on March 17.
The Dolphins, who had placed the transition tag on Clay, decided Thursday not to match the offer.
“I wanted to sign right away,” Clay said. “At the end of the day, it worked out just how I wanted.”
Clay started 47 games in four years with Miami after being taken in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He had 58 catches last season for 605 yards and three scores despite knee trouble that hampered him all season.
The Bills’ hiring of former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan helped in their pursuit of Clay.
“I played against a Rex Ryan defense for the past four years. I know how tough it is to play against this defense,” Clay said.
“Buffalo was a tough team to play against in the first place. I talked to a lot of players that played under Rex and they all spoke highly of them.”
Clay is also excited to play for new offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
“I watched him a lot in San Francisco, what he was able to do with not only the tight ends, but the offense in general,” Clay said. “I know how creative of a mind he has.”
Clay said he had negotiations with the Dolphins before entering free agency, but once he met with the Bills, he was ready to change teams.
“Buffalo was a team that stepped up and showed I was not only valued, but I was always their No. 1 priority,” he said.
Clay is the latest addition to a rebuilt Buffalo offense.
The Bills traded for running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Matt Cassell before the start of free agency, and also signed wide receiver Percy Harvin.
Clay expects to be a big part of the Bills attack.
“From the things I’ve heard, they kind of don’t want me coming off the field,” Clay said. “They want to use me in a bunch of different positions.”