Part of the hang up in completing a new contract for Denver offensive left tackle Ryan Clady, who has been offered a five-year, $50 million contract according to some Mile High City reports, is that Broncos officials feel the four-year veteran was more consistent in his first two years in the league.
Of course, a $10 million-a-year proposal isn't exactly chopped liver, but the Broncos' brass definitely feels Clady lags behind fellow left tackles such as Jason Peters (Eagles), Joe Thomas of Cleveland and perhaps Miami's Jake Long.
The counter from Clady's camp: While his performance may have slipped some in 2010 and clearly in 2011, there were some mitigating circumstances. The former first-round draft choice, who was among the NFL's premier pass protectors in his first couple campaigns and made the Pro Bowl each of those years, sustained an offseason injury to his patella tendon in 2010.
Despite some suggestions that he might miss the whole season, he started every game, despite not being at 100 percent.
Last year, the midseason switch to Tim Tebow as the starter, and the radical remaking of the Denver offense, with an emphasis on the run game, didn't exactly play to Clady's natural strengths.
As suggested a few times in the Tip Sheet, the arrival of Peyton Manning should benefit Clady even more than some other Broncos' teammates, since his "pass pro" skills figure to be accentuated. There remains a chance, even with the start of training camp, that the Broncos and Clady will complete an extension before the start of the season.
Discussions, which had been dormant for a week or two, are continuing' albeit it not at the pre-camp pace. But Clady would prefer some sort of sign from the team, beyond money, that his performance over his first four seasons has been top-shelf.