Originally written on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 5/19/12

(Photo courtesy of Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have started contract-extension talks with fifth-year starting left tackle Ryan Clady (6-6, 315 lbs.), according to a Denver Post report.  Since his rookie season in 2008, Clady hasn’t missed a single start.

The Broncos have opened contract-extension talks with Ryan Clady, according to several NFL sources.

The left tackle is in the final year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million in 2012. The franchise tag for left tackles this season was $9.4 million.

While the Broncos and Clady’s agent are talking, it may be a while before the two sides are close to an agreement.

Denver drafted Clady 12th overall in the 2008 draft and signed him to a five-year, $17.5 million deal.  That contract will give Clady $3.5 this season before expiring.  Both sides would like to extend Clady’s contract before it expires, according to reports.

As a rookie, Clady allowed an unbelievably low .5 sacks.  Since then, he has allowed 8, 7.5 and 9 sacks respectively over the past three seasons, according to Hosted.Stats.com.  Some have pointed to the increase in sacks allowed as a reason to believe Clady’s ability has slipped.  In reality, Clady injured his patella tendon in 2010 which effected his past two seasons and suffered from two quarterbacks who had a knack for getting sacked (Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow combined to be sacked 82 times over the past two seasons).

As Mike Klis pointed out, Clady has improved as a run-blocker and will likely benefit from Peyton Manning‘s quick release as a pass-blocker this season.  During his past two seasons, Manning was sacked just 26 times in 32 games.

The Broncos are also trying to rework disgruntled defensive tackle Ty Warren‘s contract and have kicker Matt Prater sign his one-year tender.  Both Warren and Prater are skipping voluntary offseason workouts in protest of their respective contract situations.  Meanwhile, Denver still has to sign five of their drafted rookies.

The Broncos could replace Warren and even Prater (though that would not be preferable), but Clady is not expendable in my mind.  Hopefully the Broncos will soon get Clady locked up long-term.

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