Last year, the Steelers pulled a surprise move just before the deadline to use franchise and transition tags by dusting off the rarely-used transition tag for linebacker Jason Worilds.
The Dolphins are taking a page from that book. They announced that they have placed the transition tag on tight end Charles Clay, who was set to become a free agent next week.
The transition tag differs from the non-exclusive franchise tag in that it offers teams a chance to match other offers for the player without any compensation coming their way in the event they choose not to match the offer. The tag pays the average of the top 10 at the position as opposed to the franchise tag, which is generated by a certain percentage of the overall cap number that is designated to each position group for its franchise figure.
For Clay, that salary would be $7.071 million although he’d have to sign the tag to eliminate the possibility that the Dolphins rescind it and move in a different direction. Clay had 58 catches for 605 yards in 2014 and was expected to be one of the top tight ends on the open market. Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron now look like the best players at the position who will be set free on March 10.