John Elway announced on Thursday that the Denver Broncos will place the franchise tag on left tackle, Ryan Clady before Tuesday. That’s the deadline for all NFL teams to declare if they intend to use the tag. It is not a surprise; in fact it is a move that has been expected for months. The franchise tag can only be used on one free agent per team, per year. It guarantees that Clady will be with the Broncos for the 2013 season; although the team will do everything in their power to sign Clady to a long-term deal.
The Broncos placed the franchise tag on kicker. Matt Prater last year and were able to come to an agreement before training camp on a four-year extension. That will be the goal with Clady; the Broncos know that they cannot afford to lose him. The Broncos believed they had a deal with Clady last August but the tackle balked at the last minute. The two-sides were close then and the discussions should pick up from that last offer.
Clady protects the blindside of Peyton Manning and is coming off of a terrific season. He allowed only one sack and was called for holding only once, both of those achievements are remarkable for a guy who is often left on an island versus the best pass rushers in the league. It was a nice bounce back season for Clady, whose play had slipped in the previous two seasons. The one thing that may hurt Clady a little is a shoulder injury he suffered at the end of the 2012 season. He has played every game since entering the league, but has suffered some fairly serious injuries.
The negations will be tough and they may get ugly at times over the course of the next few months, but the guess is that something will get done. All indications are that Clady would prefer to remain with the Broncos, and it’s obvious that the team wants him. One way or the other, Clady will be protecting the backside of Manning again in 2013. So Manning and Bronco fans can relax.
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