On the surface, the Broncos’ reported offer of a first-round pick for Cleveland left tackle Joe Thomas looks like an all-in effort to replace left tackle Ty Sambrailo, who is out for the year with a shoulder injury.
At a deeper level, the flirtation with Thomas can be interpreted as a bad sign for left tackle Ryan Clady, who has suffered two season-long injuries in three years under a big-money contract.
Clady is due to make $9.5 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017. Sambrailo, a second-round pick in 2015, can do the job in 2016 and 2017 for a lot less, especially since his wage-scale contract can’t be renegotiated until 2018 at the earliest.
The interest in Thomas could mean that Sambrailo isn’t the answer, either. But the bigger message from the effort to land Thomas could be that Clady could see the plug pulled on his contract sooner than later.