The Denver Broncos are likely to slap the franchise tag on left tacke Ryan Clady, according to the Denver Post.
Clady has been an excellent player since being drafted in the first round in 2008. The former Boise State star has been selected to three Pro Bowls thus far, and is regarded as one of the very best as an all-important blindside protector.
However, Clady is not as durable as the Broncos would like him to be; he underwent knee surgery in 2010 and struggled through a shoulder injury for much of last season.
In fact, his shoulder injury was such a bother that Clady was not selected the Pro Bowl this season, despite Denver’s 13-3 record and Peyton Manning’s outstanding season.
Denver’s decision to franchise Clady is a good one-it results in a cap hit of just under $10 million and allows the Broncos to keep Clady on the team without being forced to sign him long-term. Instead, if Clady is able to stay healthy and return to form next season, Denver can simply sign him to a long-term extension then.
Overall, this is a solid move for the defending AFC West Champions. It allows them a low-risk, high-reward opportunity where they can simply re-sign Clady next summer if he delivers another effective season. If Clady again proves injury-prone, then the Broncos can move on from the former first-rounder and find a new offensive lineman for head coach John Fox.