The Broncos may have offered left tackle Ryan Clady a five-year, $50 million contract, but the structure of that deal was the apparent hang-up, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
Klis, citing a league source, said the rejected proposal included $28 million in guarantees through the first three years of the deal, or $9 million short of the three-year guarantees received by Joe Thomas in his last deal with the Browns.
Clady’s scheduled to make $3.5 million this year, the last year of his rookie deal. And the Broncos could always use the franchise tag (expected around $9.6 million next year) next year to keep him out of the free agent market.
“Although we want to reach an extension with Ryan, we are unable to do so at this time,’’ John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, told the Post after negotiations broke off Monday. “Now, our complete focus as an organization must turn toward having a successful 2012 season.
“We’re looking forward to Ryan playing a key role on our team this year and hope he will be a Bronco for many seasons to come.”
To do so, the Broncos are apparently going to have to come off their current offer.
But the difference in guarantees is apparently enough to make Clady willing to wager nearly $25 million. That’s not to say he should blindly accept the Broncos’ last offer, but it does illustrate the risk he’s taking by playing out his rookie deal.
From the other side, the Broncos have pushed all their chips to the middle on a 36-year-old quarterback who didn’t play at all last year because of neck problems. Having his protection in the hands of a disgruntled left tackle is good for no one.
The fact Clady’s played this one down the middle, not turning it into an ugly holdout a la Maurice Jones-Drew should buy him a little extra consideration. But the role he’s going to play in Manning’s well being and the team’s success should matter even more.