Jordan Cameron Is Taking His Talents to South Beach: What Does This Mean for the Dolphins' Offense?
While Cleveland sports fans are no strangers to losing their players to Miami teams, the departure of Jordan Cameron will still sting. Only hours after NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Cameron had re-signed with the Browns, it turned out that he had, in fact, signed a deal with the Miami Dolphins.
While it remains to be seen what happens with the Dolphins' transition-tagged tight end Charles Clay, who has reportedly been in negotiations with the Bills, Cameron should be able to step in and take the starting role whether Clay is back or not.
Let's take a look at what the numbers have to say.
One thing that jumps out about Cameron are injury concerns. While it's not unusual for a tight end to effectively red-shirt his first year in the NFL, Cameron has now been in the league for four years and has yet to play a full 16-game season.
Here are Cameron's Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) numbers and ranks among tight ends during his NFL career.
|Year||Games Played||Targets||Receptions||Reception NEP (Rank)||Reception NEP per Target (Rank)|
|2012||14||40||20||19.19 (35th)||0.48 (29th)|
|2013||15||118||80||80.46 (3rd)||0.68 (14th)|
|2014||10||48||24||31.19 (22nd)||0.65 (14th)|
While Cameron's total Reception NEP suffers from missing so many games, he has come into his own during the last two seasons and posted fairly solid numbers in terms of efficiency.
One important thing to keep in mind when looking at his Reception NEP per target is who exactly those targets are coming from. Cameron has been thrown to by the likes of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer during the last couple of years, passers who leave a lot to be desired in terms of efficiency. During the last two seasons, Browns passers have totaled a Passing NEP of -46.30. Not exactly a situation that will help your per-target numbers.
Despite the mess at quarterback, Cameron was more efficient than Clay for each of the last two seasons.
In 2013 it was close, with Clay's posting a Reception NEP per target of 0.65, but in 2014, the gap widened significantly, with Clay's number falling to 0.50. Between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Cameron also has Clay beat in yards per reception (12.9 to 10.7), yards per game (53.6 to 45.5) and touchdowns per game (0.36 to 0.30). The two actually have the same amount of touchdowns in that span (9), but Cameron had played five fewer games. A big factor for that is how Cameron performs in the red zone.
Red Zone Threat
Cameron has been the Browns most effective weapon in the red zone during the past two seasons. He has scored 7 touchdowns on 22 red zone targets, good for a scoring rate of 31.8%, the best rate on the team for anyone with at least 8 targets.
While these numbers don't hold up among the elite at tight end, when we again look at the context of the team around him, the numbers look very good. If we remove Cameron's targets, the Browns touchdown rate falls to 17.2%, meaning Cameron scores at almost twice the rate of the rest of the team on red zone targets.
Charles Clay, on the other hand, pulls down his team's numbers.
Clay has 7 red zone touchdowns on 36 targets since 2013, a rate of only 19.4%. The Dolphins' rate during this stretch is 26.3%, and jumps to 28.0% if you remove targets to Clay.
The red zone is probably where the upgrade at tight end will have the biggest impact. Replacing an inefficient red zone target in Clay with an incredibly talented one like Cameron should give the Dolphins a big boost in red zone efficiency after a 2014 season that saw them finish in the bottom half of the league, turning only 51% of their red zone trips into touchdowns.
Charles Clay is not an untalented player, and the Dolphins don't necessarily need to let him walk just because they have added Cameron, especially with Cameron's injury questions, but Jordan Cameron offers the Dolphins' offense a lot more than Clay does. With Mike Wallace's future with the team uncertain, bringing in Cameron goes a long way to improving the Dolphins' passing attack for 2015.