"We're going to tag [left tackle Ryan Clady]," Broncos' executive vice president of football operations John Elway told the Denver Post's Mike Klis on Friday. Klis did not go on to specify if the team would use a non-exclusive or exclusive tag on Clady, but we assume it will be an exclusive tag due to Elway's confidence that Clady will be returning.
Either way, Clady is guaranteed to be paid the average of the top five paid players at his position (which comes to $9.66 million), but if the tag is non-exclusive, other teams could make him an offer in exchange for sending Denver two first-round selections. The Broncos would then have the chance to match the team's offer or accept their next two first-round selections.
If the tag placed on Clady is an exclusive one, he is guaranteed to be a Bronco in 2013, with no conditions or clauses. Ultimately, the team wants to get Clady locked up long term, but with Clady coming off surgery, using a one-year tag on him before giving him a big contract is the wise move. Elway told the Post:
We'd like to work something out, like we did last year. Things have changed a little bit because he's coming off a shoulder surgery. But we like Ryan. We like him a lot as a player and we'd like to get something done.
Clady is a 6'6", 315 pound, 26-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl selection that was drafted 12th overall by the Broncos in the 2008 NFL draft. Since then, Clady has started in all 80 games Denver has played, allowing an average of 5.2 sacks per season, according to STATS.com.
In his rookie year, Clady burst onto the scene by allowing just one-half of a sack the entire season. Over the next three years, Clady's high performance decreased due in part to spotty quarterback play.
Last season, with quarterback Peyton Manning running the offense and releasing the ball quickly, Clady was back to his old form, allowing just one sack on the year. Moving forward, Clady will continue to anchor Denver's offensive line.
Expect Denver to use their franchise tag on Clady sometime early this week.