Translation: Three-year offer was hangup on three-year offer

Reports Mike Klis:

The guarantee in the first three years of a proposed contract extension was a primary hang up Ryan Clady and and his negotiating team had with the Broncos’ five-year, $50 million offer, according to an NFL source.

Obviously, we're not at all surprised that the issue with these stalled negotiations was the guaranteed portion of Denver's contract offer. After all, that's all that ever really matters in the NFL - except to the agents, who want glittery total and average annual values with which to bedazzle their own resumes.

It cannot ever be stated enough - always look at the guaranteed money and how it's distributed, and you have the real value of an NFL contract. Everything beyond that tends to amount to an annual option held exclusively by the team.

Let's re-examine a pair of notable Denver deals to explain:

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning's contract? Consistently reported as being a five-year, $96M deal.


One year, eighteen-million dollars.

D.J. Williams

Another relevant (and timely) comparison would be the contract which D.J. Williams is currently hoping to see to completion. Four years ago, he was given an extension that was publicized as being worth $32M to cover the six seasons from 2008 to 2013.

That's a $5.33M average over six years, if you care (you shouldn't).

But the guaranteed figure was only $13M, spread over three years (2008-2010). In total, Williams was paid a shade over $16.15M those first three years. That was the true value of the contract, after the 2010 season.

D.J. made $4.9M last season, but even with his status as a vested veteran, that was not guaranteed until Week 1 of the regular season.

This year, Genos would be scheduled to make $5M were he not suspended for six games. He'll make a $6M salary in 2013 if he is still around (possible) and the Broncos haven't renegotiated that figure (unlikely).

That's three years in a row (2011, 2012, 2013) where the Broncos would have had the option to cut bait with D.J. and owe him not a penny further.

If they'd cut him a year ago, then they'd have paid him that $16.15M for three years of service, and then said goodbye.

They're free to cut him this year also, which would make the contract worth $21.05M over four years.

If they dump him next offseason (we'll ignore the suspension, which could grow pending his DUI trial), then it will have been a five-year, $26.05M deal.

Only two things prevent the Broncos from making such a move:

  1. They don't think they can do better, for less money
  2. The cap hit. But in D.J.'s case, it's likely irrelevant - only $900K per year for the next two years, according to our figures.

But it's their choice, every year.

So, we can safely assume that the Broncos, for now, are keeping D.J. because they think he's worth the money. They have at least a month to change their minds.

Ryan Clady

Let's circle back to Clady. The last reported offer extended to him? Five years, $50M.

Ten million per year for five years!

Obviously, not. More like three years, $28M.

Were Ryan to sign that reported offer, he'd get $28M from 2012 to 2014, and then the Broncos would owe him $22M over the next two seasons. But it wouldn't be guaranteed, so Denver would essentially have an option on Clady in 2015 and again in 2016.

It's not that it's a repulsing offer, nor can we expect Mike Klis to report anything else. After all, there's a reason Klis is chosen as the one guy to publicize this offer as per the graces of this mysterious "NFL source" (probably either director of player personnel Matt Russell or cap specialist Mike Sullivan, or maybe even John Elway): he's staying on message.

Hence, the blabbering about the average annual value and its place among the league's other offensive tackles.

The Broncos, just like every team in every pro sport does, want their fans to think they've made a massive offer to one of their key players. Hard to blame them for trying - it's good business.

But because you're an independent thinker, and because you read IAOFM, you know better than to be distracted by that shiny object.

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