Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos have opened long-term contract negotiations with left tackle Ryan Clady.
Citing “several NFL sources,” Klis reports that “it may be a while” before the sides close a deal.
Though Clady’s sacks-allowed total has been on the rise over the past three seasons, Klis’ story goes on to essentially blame the statistics on former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Klis compared Tebow to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and claims Clady “has improved greatly as a run blocker.”
Now that Tebow is gone, the Broncos apparently believe Clady will improve in pass protection. And in order to lock him up, they’re going to have to pay top dollar.
Joe Thomas of the Browns is currently the NFL’s highest paid left tackle. He signed a seven-year, $84 million extension last August, with $44 million guaranteed.
Jake Long (Dolphins), Branden Albert (Chiefs), and Duane Brown (Texans) will be watching these negotiations closely. Like Clady, Long, Albert, and Brown are young left tackles entering the final year of their rookie deals.
Other notable left tackles in contract years include William Beatty (Giants), Bryant McKinnie (Ravens), and Sam Baker (Falcons). It’s also believed Chris Williams, who is in a contract year, will get a chance to beat out J’Marcus Webb for the Bears’ starting left tackle job. Williams was a starting guard last season.