Free agency in the NFL starts on March 10th, and when that day comes expect the Buffalo Bills to be a big player in the tight end market.
The Bills new offensive coordinator Greg Roman was noted to be “a big tight end guy” by General Manager Doug Whaley, and while current starter Scott Chandler is a serviceable player, the Bills offense would become a lot more dynamic with more of a receiving threat at the position.
Clay is also versatile enough to play full back as well, and is not only a solid blocker, but will give the Bills a solid receiving option out of the backfield, especially on play-action plays.
The Bills currently have Chandler ($2.85 million cap hit, $2.25 million savings if cut), Lee Smith (unrestricted free agent), MarQueis Gray ($175K, $175K) and Chris Gragg ($600K, $575K) on the roster.
Really, there isn’t a safe bet to make the team at the position as we are unsure of how the new regime views the current roster.
Chandler has been about average in play but is a very good blocker, which would help as the Bills are going to be switching to a much more run heavy attack. Still, it wouldn’t come as a complete shock if the Bills wanted to try to save some money and go in a different route.
Gray is the most intriguing, as he is still a project player, but is an above average athlete who showed some explosiveness in his limited time with the team last season. He can also play special teams.
Gragg and Smith are both more limited in skill set and are more specialists, and could be shown the door this off-season.
Other tight ends on the market include Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, Jordan Cameron of the Cleveland Browns and Jermaine Gresham of the Cincinnati Bengals.
All would command a top-level contract to even have a chance to sign.
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