Broncos may apply franchise tag on the left tackle if deal cannot be reached soon.With teams now able to negotiate new contracts with potential free agents, the main priority in Denver is locking up stalwart offensive lineman Ryan Clay.
The left tackle has been instrumental in keeping Quarterback Peyton Manning out of trouble and so helps the teams passing attack even more deadly.
What could be a stumbling block in negotiations is that the left tackle is coming off shoulder surgery, which could concern the Broncos in the long term.
While Denver understand that Clady is key to the long term success of the franchise, they seem to be leaning towards the idea of placing the franchise tag on the 22 stone athlete, giving them more time to discuss a long-term deal.
In an article on NFL.com, Clady was more focused on regaining the strength in his shoulder and said it could take up to six months to fully heal.
“There’s no way I’m going to be in minicamps this year because I won’t be ready shoulder-wise (even) if I do get a deal done by then,” Clady said.
“In other words, I’m planning for (shoulder rehab), so I’m not going to be there, regardless if I don’t get a deal done still. Even if I get a deal done, my chances are I probably wouldn’t do much in training camp. About that time, I should be just about 100 percent around July or August — in that area.”
It is clear that he is okay with being put under the franchise tag, after all he will become one of the top five earners at his position for the year, so financially it is a good move for him.
It would make sense for the Broncos too. As Clady comes off shoulder surgery, it would be wise to see how he recovers from the injury in next seasons play. If his production seriously declines, then Denver can let him walk free next year.
If the Broncos lock their left tackle up to a long-term deal, then they are risking a lot of money on the hope that he can return to form after six months out.
It will become clearer in the next few days as to what direction the franchise will go in regarding the contract talks, but right now Clady is focused on getting healthy, and the Broncos just want to make sure Peyton Manning goes the season injury fee.