|Clady's blocking skills are going to make him a very rich man. (US Presswire)|
Left tackle is an important position. When you go out and invest as heavily in an elderly quarterback like Peyton Manning, it becomes even more important. Which is why the Broncos are attempting to work out a long-term deal with tackle Ryan Clady.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports the Broncos have thrown some serious cheddar on the table, offering Clady a five-year, $50 million deal with $28 million guaranteed. However, Klis also believes that's not going to get it done, writing that Clady's agent Pat Dye wants a deal that "would slightly exceed" the recent seven-year, $84 million deal the Browns gave Joe Thomas.
That deal also included $44 million in guaranteed money for Thomas and it's a pretty fair benchmark for what Clady wants, although trying to get more money than Thomas is a stretch, considering Thomas is the better player. However, there's certainly a middle ground between what the Broncos are offering and what Clady wants -- that's where you'll likely see a deal land (six years, $65 million?) in this case.
The Broncos tackle has started 16 games all four years since Denver drafted him in the first round (12th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. Clady's done that despite suffering a torn patella tendon before the 2010 season; he recovered in a phenomenally fast five months and was back on the field in time for the start of the year.
It's pretty unlikely that Clady will take what Denver's offering right now, unless he's terribly concerned about suffering an injury that could cost him a monster contract. For one, the Broncos would be buying unbelievably low. For two, Clady could be in line for a big-time bounceback season; he was ranked as CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson's No. 3 comeback player for 2012.
"Here's the thing, though: it's one thing to block for a traditional pocket passer like Kyle Orton (or even the relatively mobile Jay Cutler before him, whose quick release made up for holding the ball too long)," Wilson wrote last month. "It's something else entirely when you're asked to pass-block for Tim Tebow who a) struggled to read defenses, b) held the ball in the pocket for what felt like days, and c) and had a wind-up that even Byron Leftwich thought was protracted."
Peyton, on the other hand, has a habit of making offensive linemen look very good: since the merger, there 32 times a quarterback has started 15 (or more) games and been sacked less than 16 times. Peyton has six of those seasons.
So it stands to reason that Clady could end up looking much better in 2012 with Peyton under center than he did in 2012, when he was trying to block for Tebow. And if that's the case, and Clady returns to All-Pro form, $10 million a year simply won't be enough to get a deal done.
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