Today through March 4, teams will be able to “tag” a player that is an unrestricted free agent, which gives that player a top five average for his position for one season. For the Denver Broncos, the plan has been set, as they are ready to use that tag on all-pro offensive tackle Ryan Clady.
Before the 2012 season, the Broncos and Clady were not able to reach a contract agreement, and have resumed talks over the past couple weeks. Clady, however, is coming off rotator cuff surgery, which will sideline him for five to six months while he rehabs. This leaves Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway having to make the choice to tag Clady, and secure him through the 2013 season.
This is not necessarily a bad thing for Clady, who will make $9.66M this year, up from his previous salary of $3.5M. We all know that Clady is worth much more, but considering the surgery, it is a smart business move to see just how the tackle performs this year, and if the injury surfaces again.
I don’t know if you could put a price on a tackle that can protect the blindside like Clady did for Peyton Manning this past year, only allowing one sack, but I’m sure the quarterback will be thrilled to have him back. While Clady does not necessarily like the franchise tag, and would rather the security of the contract, this does not hinder them from working out a deal in the coming months like they did last off-season with K Matt Prater.
Head Coach John Fox and his Broncos are the preliminary favorites to win it all in 2013, and while it is too early to speculate on that, it is understood that the team does not need a major overhaul to get to their goal. Beginning with Clady relieves them of one burden on their list, and allows their focus to be primarily on the combine coming up, as well as free agency before getting to the NFL Draft in April.