Progress with Ryan Clady may avoid franchise tag shutout


There are eight players that have been designated franchise players by their respective teams. It could be the first year that no players sign under the current deadline.

With the Denver Broncos dealing with two team executives arrested for driving under the influence, negotiations with offensive tackle Ryan Clady is beginning to show significant progress. Clady was slapped with the franchise tag and Denver has until Monday to sign the offensive tackle to a long-term deal.

According to multiple reports, the sides have grown close enough to encourage optimism that a deal will be done.

According to Albert Breer with the NFL Network, Denver offered a contract that pays Clady $33 million over the first three years with every cent guaranteed. Clady is coming off major offseason shoulder surgery.

Clady appears to be the most likely -- if not the only -- franchise player to get a deal done before the deadline. There are eight players that were designated franchise players and none of have signed long-term deals. If teams are unable to sign those players to contracts by Monday, they'll have to wait until their respective season concludes.

This is a significant change from last year when 21 players were franchised with 12 signing long-term deals. Ten of 14 players that were franchised in 2011 also signed long-term contracts before the deadline.

According to Breer, it could be the first time that the league observes no franchise players signing contract extensions before the deadline.

"I think it's an anomaly, not the way things are going,"one NFC executive told the NFL Network. "The tags are higher than they have been in the past and, if you're a player who's willing to bet on himself, getting one year at $8 million or $9 million or $10 million isn't that bad. Four years ago, at too many positions, the number wasn't a burden for teams. Now, it's different. And say you're a receiver; you're still gonna make $10 million and be able to take care of generations of your family."

The Cincinnati Bengals will have extensive use of the franchise tag over the next few years. Michael Johnson is currently franchised, and it appears all-but-certain that he'll play under the one-year contract this season. Unless significant progress is made from now until March, Geno Atkins is a likely franchise player with A.J. Green following in 2015.

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