Broncos lowballed Clady in 2012 Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we've been discussing for quite some time now, the team has until 4pm ET on July 15 to agree to a long-term deal with left tackle Ryan Clady, or have him play out his $9.828M franchise tender, which he has not yet signed.

The two sides reportedly exchanged offers last week and are expected to resume negotiations in the coming days.

A year ago, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that talks ended with Clady turning down a five-year, $50M deal that included $28M in guarantees.

But Klis now reports that Denver's final 2012 offer included only $16M in guarantees, which is obviously a monumental difference1.

This is a really big deal, if we're to believe Klis's latest report.

Now, it could be that the 2012 offer did include $28M in so-called guarantees, but that they weren't full guarantees. In other words, the now-missing $12M may have been in the form of a 2014 salary that only became guaranteed on a certain date, say the beginning of the 2014 league year.

If you're thinking, what's the difference, it's not like they were going to cut him, consider the possibility of injury, or the cautionary tale of Elvis Dumervil, whose last Denver contract reportedly contained $43.156M in guarantees, $12M of which disappeared when the Broncos cut him in March.

We've said for years that it's all about the guarantees, but unfortunately, it's all about the full guarantees, and we aren't always privy to those details. It's in the best interests of teams and agents to inflate publicly reported contract figures; teams want their paying customers fans to know think they're doing everything they can to acquire and retain talent, and agents want potential clients to think they get their guys the most coin.

There's nothing wrong, or dirty about the Broncos only offering Clady $16M in guarantees.

The team is entitled to value Ryan at whatever number they come up with, and Clady and his representatives are free to accept or decline what the team offers.

But where it gets a little shady, in our eyes, is when false reports ($28M in guarantees) are put out by the team and disseminated by the only paper in town, and then public pressure mounts in the form of fans calling Clady greedy or entitled.

Because the DP is the only paper in town, we have to accept as fact, going forward, that Denver's last 2012 offer contained only $16M in guaranteed money.

Given that assumption, there is absolutely no mystery as to why Clady turned it down, and frankly, it makes the likelihood of the two sides coming to an agreement now appear dubious, at best.

If Clady signs and plays out the franchise tag, he will make $9.828M in 2013. He'd then become an unrestricted free agent in 2014, with the Broncos having the chance to reapply their tag, but at a 20% premium ($11.7936M). This means that barring injury, Clady has to think he's going to earn $21.6216M in salary over the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Were the Broncos not to tag him next year, he'd be hitting unrestricted free agency as a 27-year-old tackle with at least two All-Pro designations and three Pro Bowls to his name.

Putting ourselves in Clady's shoes, with an absolute worst-case scenario of $9.828M2 in guaranteed 2013 salary, it would be a surprise to see Clady accept less than $30M or so in guarantees as part of a long-term deal, and we don't believe the Broncos were ever sincere in their efforts to sign Clady a year ago.

1 It sure would be nice to have this stark discrepancy acknowledged within the article, but as we know, that's not how things are done at the DP

2 Yes, the tag is worth $9.828M, not the $9.823M figure cited by Klis

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