According to Adam Schefter of ESPN and now confirmed by the team, the Miami Dolphins have placed the transition tag on Charles Clay. The deadline to place either the franchise or transition tag was 4:00 PM EST today.
When a player is given the transition tag, they are paid the average of the top ten salaries at a player's position or 120% of the value of his 2014 salary, whichever is higher. In Clay's case, that is approximately $7 million this season.
With the transition tag, Clay can negotiate with other clubs once free agency begins. If another club offers a contract to Clay, the Dolphins will have seven days to decide whether to match the offer or not. If the Dolphins agree to match, Clay will be forced to sign with the Dolphins at the terms set by the other club. If the Dolphins decline to match, Clay will leave and the Dolphins would receive no compensation for losing him.
General Manager Dennis Hickey commented on the move via the Miami Dolphins official Twitter account: "We have used this option available to us with Charles with the hope that he continues to remain a member of the Miami Dolphins."
We'll see if another team tries to negotiate with Clay and steal him away. If they do negotiate, it will be interesting to see if the Dolphins match. The team and Clay's camp had been hopeful a deal could be reached and it still very well could before free agency begins. The Dolphins may just be keeping all their options open heading into next week.
If no team tries to take Clay away, the Dolphins will have until July 22 to work out a long-term deal. If they don't reach a deal before then, Clay would play under the $7 million dollar salary for one year.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs