2013 NFL Free Agency: Jake Long’s Impact On Ryan Clady and the Broncos

Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

Did the market pass Ryan Clady by?

It was reported this morning, that Free Agent Left Tackle Jake Long, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, has signed a 4 year contract with the St. Louis Rams. The deal, per Rotoworld, is for $34 Million with another $2 million available through incentives. Simple math tells us it’s a $9 Million-per-year deal. So how does that affect Ryan Clady?

The Broncos began contract talks with their own Left Tackle, Ryan Clady, last May. Just before Training Camp began, the team offered him a five-year, $50 million contract extension with $28 million guaranteed. That $10 Million per year was denied by Ryan and his Agent, Pat Dye. They were seeking something more along the lines of what cleveland Browns Tackle Joe Thomas, who signed an 8-year, $92 Million contract in August 2011. That averages out to $11.5 Million each season.

It appears that Ryan should have taken the Broncos offer.

Clady was banking on a rebound season after allowing a career-high nine Sacks in 2011 trying to protect the erratic Tim Tebow and despite the fact that the Broncos passed less than they ever have during his four-year tenure. He earned his 2nd Pro Bowl selection after
helping the Broncos lead the NFL in rushing, setting a franchise record with 164.5 yards per game on the ground.

Ryan accomplished that goal of rebounding in 2012, earning his third Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection after he allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (1.0) among 16-game starting Tackles. Clady started all 16 games for the fifth consecutive season. He hasn’t missed a game despite tearing a patellar tendon in the Spring of 2010.

After seeing the market drop in the Free Agency period this offseason, maybe Ryan and his Agent are "a Day late and a Dollar short" as the axiom goes. He’ll receive the $9.828 Million Franchise amount this season and a 120% raise in 2014 ($11.79M) if he can’t strike a deal and the Broncos Franchise him for the second year in a row. The one thing going for Clady however, is that the Left Tackle is the 2nd-most important position in the NFL.

I’m in no way advocating for Ryan to sell himself short. He has had a terrific career by all standards, but he’s also been injured and needed surgery (knee, toe and shoulder). Yes he will have a bigger than usual payday this season, fully guaranteed, but betting on your health in an occupation where you could have a career-ending injury at any time is the main reason why players get upset with the Franchise Tag.

So what are your thoughts. Did Clady lose his shot as an $11 Million man?
Go Broncos!

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