Ryan Clady wants to be paid like Joe Thomas and Jason Peters. What does that mean?

It's one of the biggest questions that's hung over the Broncos' 2012 and 2013 offseasons. Actually, make that two.

How much money does Ryan Clady want, and is Denver willing to pay it?

Last summer, we were told the left tackle was seeking a deal to trump that of Cleveland's Joe Thomas, who got $44M in guarantees as part of a seven-year extension. That deal was agreed upon while Thomas was still under contract for one year with the Browns, and amounted to an eight-year deal worth $80.5M in total.

Denver's response was a reported five-year offer worth $50M, including $28M in guarantees, which would have replaced the $3.5M he ultimately drew last season.

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Freeney: Peyton recruiting me to Denver

A year ago, the face of the Broncos (no, the real one) did his part to help recruit Peyton Manning to Denver.

Now that Manning has usurped Champ Bailey as the team's unquestioned leader, he's in turn looking to reprise that role as lead locker room pitchman.

During a visit with PFT Live, former Colts pass rusher and one-time AFC DPOY Dwight Freeney said he'd already heard from his former teammate:

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Commenting changes

A while back, we made the move from our own commenting system to Disqus. We didn't want to force people to sign up for yet another account on the web, and using social logins (or perhaps a Disqus login you already had) seemed the easiest option. I had the ability to bring social logins to our own system, but it was still very basic in nature.

Disqus recently sent out an email that they were pushing us onto their new system. I think they have a really good product, but there are a couple of reasons why I held off using it.

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Poking and prodding today in Indy Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today begins the NFL's annual cattle call scouting combine, during which paid professionals will fall in love with a prospect thanks to their bubble butt, at the expense of some dude who can just flat out play.

Some future key NFLers, like Denver's own Chris Harris and Tony Carter before them, won't even get a chance to strut around in their Under Armour for the world to see, because they weren't invited to the festivities.

Prospects lucky enough to be in attendance will be going through batteries of medical exams, interviews, strength tests, and on-field workouts.

But it's not just draft hopefuls with whom NFL teams will be meeting; this also marks the true start of tampering season, when agents for pending free agents will meet with GMs and in some cases even strike deals.

And, it turns out those GMs will apparently have a bit more cap room to work with than previously expected, as the 2013 cap number is now likely to be above $122M per team.

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McCoy shocked Chargers offered head job so quickly

Mike McCoy: Philip Rivers is a “Great Guy to Have as the Face of Your Franchise”
sportsradiointerviews.com

On being surprised that the Chargers told him they were ready to hire him during the interview:
“To be perfectly honest, it kind of caught me off guard a little bit because I had not been here very long. By the time the interview process started, after I came out here Monday morning … when the job was offered to me I said, ‘Listen, I can’t say yes or no right now,’ because I have to go talk to my family. I had no idea where they were in the process. We had not talked to them before that point in time, so it all happened extremely fast and then I went home and made the decision to come down here.”

On the importance of having a franchise quarterback in this league:
“In this league you’ve gotta have a franchise quarterback to have a good opportunity to do great things. So it’s gonna start there.”

Let's imagine how this conversation went, shall we?

McCoy: Hey, Honey, you want to live in San Diego and make more money?

Family: Cool.  Do you like Philip Rivers?

McCoy: It doesn't matter.  If we lose, he's the first-year scapegoat.  After all, he's moving a little slower these days.

NCAA making efforts to curb head injuries

The move to make a violent sport safer just took a big step forward:

It is officially time to relearn tackling in college football.

Many programs already have been in the process, trying to break the habit of defensive backs and pass rushers of going high on unprotected receivers and quarterbacks. But now there is new urgency to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact.

The NCAA forced the issue this week by recommending a rule that will eject anyone who is flagged for targeting a defenseless player.

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Today’s Lard is sponsored by the force of gravity

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We get a lot of complaints when we go "off-topic" here, especially when it concerns the activities of a certain former Bronco (even if prompted by a current Bronco, or the greatest Bronco ever).

Anyway, to quote another former Bronco, we DOOOONNNTTT CAAAAAAARRRRRE. For the record, nothing regarding a current or former Bronco is ever even close to being off-topic, and we never claimed we'd write solely about the Broncos here, anyway, so there's also that.

With that in mind, we're dedicating this space today to highlight the words of one of the great scholars of our time, one Jose Canseco. Granted, Canseco never even played in the NFL, even less for the Broncos. But would anyone doubt that if we were to ask him, Jose would say he could have been an NFL HOFer?

Good enough for us.

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Should the Broncos pursue Geoff Schwartz, Henry Melton, or Rey Maualuga?

As free agency lurks, we’re already seeing some big names linked to the Broncos. There will be more, but here are a few somewhat lesser names that have stood out for me:

The player who I like best so far in free agency is 26-year-old offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, formerly of the Panthers and Vikings. I’ll be talking more about him in a two-part series on the middle of the Denver roster, but he has a history with John Fox in Carolina and has played both right guard and right tackle successfully.

He’s likely to be more of a cap-friendly acquisition and potentially fills a need that’s literally bigger than safety, wideout, or situational pass rusher. He’s a mauler who uses his 6-6, 334-lb body to his best advantage. I’d love to see him after another year or two under line coach Dave Magazu. He may not an be elite talent, but he’s very good. I see him as a potential upgrade over Manny Ramirez or Chris Kuper who would allow Denver to leave Orlando Franklin at right tackle.

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Happy Franchise Tag Day Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The two-week period during which teams may apply their franchise tags commences today and ends at 4pm ET on Monday, March 4.

Of course, we laid out all of the rules of using the tender last week, and John Elway openly acknowledged the team will be employing it to keep Ryan Clady from hitting the open market.

We're still not entirely convinced that Denver should be going the route of the exclusive tag, as the worst-case scenario of choosing the non-exclusive tender means getting another team's next two first-round draft choices.

Even if this wouldn't result in any cap savings, the team could theoritically go after another top young tackle like Branden Albert or Sebastian Vollmer for money similar to what they're willing to give Clady, and pocket the two top picks as an extraordinary bonus. If no team is willing to pay such a hefty price, then Denver hasn't lost a thing - not Clady, nor anything relative to the cap.

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More musings on Woodson, Freeney, and Collie

Following up on what Doug and Ted wrote about the availability of Charles Woodson, Dwight Freeney, and Austin Collie, I'd like to share a few thoughts of my own.

As Doug pointed out, plenty of big players are going to be linked to the Broncos. With the team coming off a 13-3 record, and their limited time frame with Peyton Manning at QB, Denver is again a highly desirable place to come play.

Woodson will turn 37 in October, but he’s been one of the top players at safety in the league. Is he worth a look?

Collie is 27 and has been released after a year of only 12 catches due to a series of concussions. He’s been a good target for Manning in the past, and Brandon Stokley is probably looking at his final season, so he’s interesting on that basis.

Last but not least, Freeney might be reduced to being a situational pass rusher, but he bagged five sacks last year in only 768 snaps (including playoffs). Is he worth bringing on board for that role?

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