Charles Clay began training camp in 2013 as a fullback/tight end hybrid who was set to backup Dustin Keller and see situational snaps. Charles Clay ended the season as one of the NFL’s top 100 players and for good reason.
After the NFL rule changes on hitting led to a season-ending knee injury for Keller in the preseason, Clay busted both myths of his limited potential and defenses around the league in 2014. The former sixth round pick out of Tulsa was the steadiest force on the Dolphins offense last season on his way to 69 receptions, 759 yards receiving and more touchdown receptions than both Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline.
In his second season as a starter Clay is expected to make great strides, but I am expecting his game to grow leaps and bounds and that is why Clay needs a new deal now. The former late round pick is scheduled to make just $1.4 million this coming year, but if the Dolphins are willing to give Clay a raise (cut into that $13.5 million of cap space) and offer him some long-term security, they could get a steal before his stock soars.
The new NFL tight end is an oversized receiver, and Clay is a prototype at 6’3’’ and with his 255 lbs. packed with explosiveness. Jimmy Graham, the class of the position, just signed a deal is for four years that is worth $40 million and he will get $13 million this coming season. I am not saying Clay needs wide receiver, or Jimmy Graham contact, but he shouldn’t be paid like a fullback if it means the Dolphins can lock up his services for years to come.
The fourth-year pro doesn’t the have years of starting experience GMs seek to lock up for the long term, but Clay is worth the gamble and he’s a safe bet at that. Clay displays a unique combination of size and speed, or at least unique in South Florida as the Dolphins have never had a player quite like this. #42 shows off his athleticism, crisp routes, and strength on Sundays, but what makes him so valuable to the Dolphins is his versatility and will. The argument during Jimmy Graham’s recent arbitration was whether he was a wide receiver, or a tight end, but the argument during Clay’s arbitration would surely be much more interesting. Clay’s game cannot be pigeon holed, as the man is simply a football player. Clay can line up as a H-back, fullback, tight end, wide receiver, and until its proven otherwise I would imagine he could be pretty successful at on the other side at safety, or linebacker. The Dolphins need to hold onto Clay because he is simply irreplaceable.
And you can mark my words, this is the last chance Dolphins will have to sign the up and coming Clay at a discounted rate. Clay is poised to breakout this season and I can only hope that that breakout doesn’t mean he will be moving out of South Florida. Dennis SIGN THE MAN.
If you need to remember what Clay did for the Dolphins in 2013 here you go…
And if you want to make unwitting arguments about why Clay is more valuable than Jimmy Graham then pump yourself up at 2:40, or 4:40 first.