Now that the off-season frenzy is in full effect for the Denver Broncos, it is time to begin getting the team to within the salary cap that has been set at about $121M by the NFL. With decisions to be made in all areas, especially at the cornerback position with Champ Bailey, the Broncos and Executive Vice President John Elway must be steadfast in retaining one player: OT Ryan Clady.
Since his rookie year in 2008, Clady has started every single game at the tackle spot, ensuring his quarterbacks safety from the blindside with a menacing poise. Arguably the best tackle in the NFL, Clady allowed just a half sack in his rookie year, while only giving up one sack while protecting Peyton Manning in 2012.
This is the type of player you simply do not give up, no matter the cost. Clady will eventually get a commanding salary, or the Broncos can put the franchise tag on him for about $9.6M. Either way, Elway has to find a way to secure Clady for the foreseeable future as there are not many tackles in the league that can do what he does, especially when looking at the instability along the line the Broncos witnessed in their playoff loss against the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
If the Broncos want to assure themselves of any further playoff runs, they will need a healthy Manning, and that starts with keeping Clady in front of him. While Elway must get the team right cap-wise, this is one position that he can simply neglect. After Clady, then the Broncos can begin to look at other areas such as cornerback, running back and middle linebacker. But for now, the first order is clearly the cornerstone of any great offense, the blindside tackle.
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