Broncos offer Clady $28M in guarantees Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that the team has reached an impasse in their negotiations on a long-term contract with the representatives for left tackle Ryan Clady, they're taking things public.

Mike Klis reports that Denver's latest offer to the 25-year-old tackle is a five-year deal with $28M in guarantees and a total value of $50M. The fifth-year player is set to make $3.5M in the final year of his rookie contract - a pittance relative to the position he plays. To wit, Klis says that salary would rank Clady 31st among the league's offensive tackles this season.

However, Clady's reps are reportedly using the contract of Browns LT Joe Thomas as a benchmark, and there's quite a gap between the two. Last summer, Thomas signed an eight-year deal with $44M in guarantees and a total value of $92M (most reports call it a seven-year deal, but Rotowire tends to have the most up-to-date figures).

But as we noted last week, the Broncos have quite a bit of leverage on their side at this point, what with the $3.5M salary for this season, coupled with the ability to use their franchise tag on Clady for 2013. If the LT franchise value remains around its current $9.3M figure, then Denver will get away with paying Ryan in the neighborhood of $13M over the next two seasons.

Presumably, the structure of the team's offer spreads the $28M guarantee over the first three seasons, meaning it would essentially be a three-year deal with the Broncos holding a de facto option for the fourth and fifth seasons. So while Sacco Klis frames Denver's offer as one that would make Clady among the league's highest-paid tackles, it's really not that impressive a financial package.

But the Broncos might be wise to step up their offer and get a deal done for a few reasons:

  1. How the team treats one of its best young players, one who's never missed a start, matters. We can (but shouldn't) criticize Ryan for having hurt himself while playing hoops, but don't forget that his knee injury didn't cost him any games.
  2. It doesn't figure the team wants to draw these negotiations out into a multi-season drama. Within the next couple of years, the Broncos will likely have to come up with new deals for Von Miller, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas. How many important young players do they want to be dealing with at a time?
  3. We've noted that Clady's play has fallen off since his stellar rookie and sophomore seasons. But there's a great chance that playing in front of Peyton Manning and his speedy decision-making will have Clady again looking like one of the top handful of the league's tackles. This would likely raise Ryan's pricetag in a big way, and rightfully so.

Again, the Broncos hold most of the cards here. But if they're going to get a deal done anytime soon, they will likely have to step up their offer in a big way. If we're sticking with five years, think more along the lines of $60M total and $40M in guarantees.


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Ryan Clady has one year and $3.5M remaining on his rookie contract. What should the Broncos do about him long-term?

Clady is eligible for free agency next year, and the franchise tag for tackles is currently at $9.3M for one year. It will likely be incrementally higher than that figure next year. Clady's play has dropped off a bit over the past two years, but he's still only 25 (he'll turn 26 in September) and widely considered as being among the top half of the league's left tackles. The QB switch to the lightning-fast decision-maker Peyton Manning from the scramble-prone Tim Tebow should make Clady's job easier and his performance look better.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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