There was some doubt as to whether or not the Denver Broncos would place the franchise tag on Ryan Clady but we’ve had that question answered — sort of. The Broncos announced that they have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on their pried offensive tackle, but while that means they have an offer in place for him, it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be with the team next season.
Clady has emerged as one of the better tackles in the game today and he was a big part of keeping Peyton Manning safe during his comeback season. Everyone knew that Clady was about to get paid some serious cash but the question was who would be picking up the tab? Right now it appears as though the Broncos are that team but the non-exclusive tag means that another team can still swoop in and steal him away from Denver.
Basically, the non-exclusive tag makes a player a restricted free agent, meaning the Broncos currently have was is essentially a qualifying offer in place for Clady. Any team in the NFL can offer Clady a contract, and he’s free to sign one offer sheet if it’s more lucrative than the Broncos franchise tag offer. If that happens, the Broncos have the option of matching that offer and making that Clady’s new contract with them, or allowing the tackle to sign with the team who gave him an offer sheet and the Broncos would receive two first round draft picks in return.
Obviously, Clady is the cornerstone of the Broncos line and he’s a key part of ensuring Denver gets the most out of Peyton Manning. So it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Clady isn’t with the Broncos next season.
However, stranger things have happened, and if someone blows the Broncos away with an offer they can’t match, two first round draft picks it something that will easily soothe the pain.