Of the eight 2013 franchise players, only one signed a multi-year deal. And that one player now has a season-ending injury.
Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady refused to accept the one-year franchise tender, holding out for a long-term contract and the security that goes along with it.
And so instead of a one-year deal worth less than $10 million, Clady waited until he signed a five-year deal worth more than $50 million — $33 million of which is guaranteed.
If Clady had opted for the one-year franchise tender and then suffered a season-ending Lisfranc sprain in Week Two, his chances of getting a long-term, big-money contract would have diminished. At a minimum, he would have had to prove that he can play at a high level in 2014 before unlocking a potentially major payday in 2015.
The situation proves once again that players who have the skills and leverage to hold out should always strongly consider doing so. The skills (and in turn the leverage) can quickly disappear via a serious injury.
The serious injury can happen at any time in the NFL. For Clady, it came with less than four minutes remaining of a game the Broncos led by 15 points.
Some will say the Broncos should have pulled their starting offense at that point. But the lead was 15, not 30. The starting offense absolutely had to be on the field. Any time any player is on the field, a season-ending injury can happen.
And so any time a player has the skills and the leverage to hold out until he gets long-term financial security, he should.