As the new league year approaches and the Bills up against in regards to the salary cap, a decisive contract restructuring was agreed upon between the team and tight end Charles Clay to potentially free up a little more money for Buffalo for this upcoming season.
Via the John Murphy Show on Thursday night, Bills GM Doug Whaley revealed that the front office had “just finished renegotiation on Clay,” adding that there are other players they’d like to extend.
Last off-season Buffalo signed Clay away from the Miami Dolphins as a transition player, meaning that he was an unrestricted free agent with the Dolphins who used their transition tag on the tight end to give themselves the right of first refusal. Once Miami elected to not match Buffalo’s offer of 5 years/$38 million, Clay was free to sign with the Bills.
Clay was soon to receive a $10 million roster bonus at the start of the new league year on March 9, which put his cap figure at about $13.5 million for the upcoming season. While the details of the contract restructure cannot be disclosed due to team policies, in all likelihood Buffalo converted that roster bonus into a signing bonus, which allows them the flexibility to distribute that money to Clay over the final four years of the contract, instead of in one lump some next month.
Such a move would give the Bills an additional $7.5 million to work with this off-season, however it also puts them on the books for an additional $2.5 million in each of over the three seasons that follow. In total Clay will cost Buffalo $9 million in each of the final three seasons of his contract.
This restructuring is certainly beneficial for Buffalo in the short term, especially with key free agents such as Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito seeking new contracts.
CB Leodis McKelvin and S Corey Graham are among the other candidates for potential contract restructuring, as Whaley looks to not only bring back current free agents, but extend the contracts of franchise cornerstones like QB Tyrod Taylor and CB Stephone Gilmore.
“There are some guys we’re going to meet with on our current roster, who won’t be free agents, who we’ll be talking to,” Whaley said. “We want to extend and lower their cap number, or just give them more years because we think they can help us down the road.”