ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –After completing a season in which he was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowler, tackle Ryan Clady was given the non-exclusive franchise tag by the Broncos.
The move ensures the five-year veteran will be protecting quarterback Peyton Manning's blindside for the 2013 season.
The non-exclusive franchise tag means that Clady will earn the average salary of the top five players at his position for the 2013 season. The team is still able to negotiate a long-term deal with a player that is given the franchise tag, and the Broncos have the right to match any offer from another team. If the Broncos choose not to match the offer, however, they will receive two first-round picks.
Clady started all 16 games and allowed just one sack to mark the fewest allowed among 16-game starting tackles in the NFL for the 2012 season.
In 2012, Clady became just the fourth offensive lineman in NFL history to start every game and make three Pro Bowls during his first five NFL seasons.
A first-round selection (12th overall) by the Broncos in 2008, Clady is one of three players from his draft class to start every possible game (80) to start their careers.
Teams are able to use the franchise tag on one unrestricted free agent each offseason. Last year, the Broncos used their tag on Matt Prater before working out a long-term deal with the kicker.
"There's two parts of the NFL: there's business and there's football," Head Coach JOhn Fox said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "That's the business side; I don't really get too much involved with that. I know we want Ryan, and that Ryan wants to be a Denver Bronco. The business part will work itself out one way or another, and we'll see where that goes moving forward."