ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The signing of offensive tackle Chris Clark to a two-year contract extension shows that depth matters -- especially at a position group where one man serves as a primary backup at multiple spots.
The only difference between Clark and Manny Ramirez, who signed his two-year extension last week, is that Ramirez has a starting spot -- and appears poised to keep it if he can maintain the form he's displayed during two solid games. Much of Clark's regular-season work has come not at center, but as a third tight end, where he was used frequently in 2011. That extra work gave Clark a chance to hone his footwork and quickness; those are assets that have helped him solidify his place on the roster in the two years since then.
Also aiding Clark's cause was his offseason of work at left tackle in place of Ryan Clady, who was sidelined until August following shoulder surgery. The work in OTAs, minicamp, training camp and preseason games provided evidence that Clark could handle the workload if needed -- which could be very soon if Clady's foot does not heal in time for him to play against Oakland on Sept. 23.
In the long term, Clark also provides insurance in case the Broncos are unable to re-sign Orlando Franklin, whose contract expires following the 2014 season. In the short term, the Broncos have a backup who knows the offense, became familiar with Peyton Manning's checks and calls during the offseason and fits well with his fellow offensive linemen.
The Broncos have faith in their depth, and Clark has justified it.