The Denver Broncos have made a push to extend the contract of two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady, with Mike Klis of The Denver Post reporting that the Broncos are offering a five-year, $50 million extension that included $28 million in guaranteed money.
Thus far, Clady has not accepted the offer, which in terms of APY (Average Per Year), would place the 2008 first-round draft pick out of Boise State among the five highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL. Clady also likely would receive a substantial increase over the $3.5 million in base salary he's scheduled to earn in 2012, which is the final year of his rookie contract.
Denver's offer to Clady is similar, in both APY and guaranteed money, to what New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson received in July of 2010. The $10 million APY is an undeniably large number that places him among the elite offensive linemen, so the issue could come down to guaranteed money.
The Cleveland Browns signed perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas to a seven-year, $80.5 million extension ($11.5 million APY) last summer that contained $44 million in guaranteed money. Clady might be hard-pressed to match Thomas' maximum guarantee, but his agent (Pat Dye) certainly will want to get as close as possible to the $38.5 million in Thomas' deal that could become fully guaranteed.
The Broncos have considerable leverage in these talks. Clady, who suffered a serious knee injury in the 2010 offseason, is guaranteed nothing beyond this season. The Broncos also have Peyton Manning, who has succeeded in the past with Charlie Johnson as his left tackle (no offense, Charlie).
Denver also could use the franchise tag on him next offseason. If the salary cap remains flat, as expected, the offensive line tender is projected to be worth $9.278 million in 2013. Denver could use the tender on Clady again in 2014, which would bring his earnings to $20.412 million over the 2013-14 seasons, which is far less than the $28 million in guaranteed money the Broncos currently are offering.