Quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos stands in the huddle with teammats Chris Clark and Brandon Minor during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Continuing the review of Denver Broncos Free Agents, we come to Offensive Tackle Chris Clark. Signed by Tampa Bay as a college Free Agent in May 2008, Chris was released in Training Camp and then signed to the Minnesota Vikings Practice Squad, where he resided until becoming one of the last roster cuts by the Vikings September 4, 2010. The Broncos claimed him off waivers the following day and he played in Denver’s final eight games in 2010, mostly on Special Teams. In 2011, the Broncos often used Clark as an extra lineman in place of a Tight End or sometimes even a receiver for a jumbo blocking package. He was also the backup at both Tackle spots and played most of the 4th quarter at Right Tackle in the Lions game when Orlando Franklin was benched.
Clark appeared in all 16 games and Started 6 times in 2011. Eleven of those games he graded out well. The Lions game in Week 8 had to be the low point of Chris' season. He relieved Orlando Franklin at Right Tackle for the 4th Quarter because Franklin was doing poorly in pass protection. He didn't get a lot of run blocking reps due to the fact that the Broncos were behind and forced to pass a lot. Still, Franklin got beat 5 times and Clark got beat 3 times and surrendered a Sack. He had outstanding games at Miami and Minnesota, including a couple of pancake blocks in the 2nd level. Chris had two penalties called on him (one False Start, one Hold) and allowed one Sack all season.
Clark is a good presence along the line. He has a feisty demeanor and excellent technique, good balance and stands tall in pass protection. He is also fairly athletic for is size. However, overall his game is limited and he isn't a mauler. He lacks lateral mobility and initial punch to create room. Can be slow to react. Overall, Chris is a decent rotational Tackle.
Free Agent Options
Clark made $405,000 and is currently an Exclusive Rights Free Agent. Going into his 3rd season in 2012, Clark's minimum Salary will be $615,000. I don't think it will be much over that considering he went Undrafted. Chris is sure to be re-signed due to his Exclusive Rights status. It's hard to fathom that the Broncos would bring in even a moderate priced Free Agent since they have Ryan Clady, Ryan Harris and last years draft pick Orlando Franklin. There is always the outside chance that a Tackle would fall to them in the draft, but this shouldn't be considered a position of need.