What does Russell Okung’s visit mean for Ryan Clady?

On Thursday, Dan Williams of Morning Mayhem was joined by Kyle Berry, sitting in for Marcelo Romano, to discuss the backstage machinations that drive free agency.

“I think it’s a little bit of leverage for both sides. It’s leverage for Okung against Seattle because he wants to come back to Seattle,” Berry said. “It’s leverage for Elway and Denver against Clady to say, ‘Hey we have other options on the table if you’re unwilling to work with us here.’”

The bottom line of every decision made in free agency inevitably comes back to money. It was believed that Okung, who acts as his own agent, was asking for around $11 million a year. The Broncos are currently making an effort to restructure Clady’s contract, which has him making $9.5 million a year. The Broncos hope to bring his salary down to around $5 million.

Though the time spent in free agency may have reduced Okung’s asking price, it’s hard to imagine him accepting what the Broncos are able to offer if they retain Clady. If they do decide to cut Clady, the Broncos would gain $8.5 million in cap space and could conceivably tempt Okung.

The decision to cut Clady in favor of Okung would be a risky maneuver, however. As far as injuries go, since 2013, Clady has started in only 18 games due to injuries, while Okung managed start in 35 games over the same period, but that doesn’t mean he’s been injury free. In fact, he is currently recovering from a shoulder surgery which ended his season last year.

“There’s a perception that he’s (Okung) better than Ryan Clady. I don’t know if that’s the case,” Williams said. “Ryan Clady is more accomplished and barely one year older, and Russel Okung is going to cost you twice as much.”

Clady is a four-time pro-bowler while Okung’s only made one. At his best, Clady is the clear choice, but if he can’t get on the field, it doesn’t really matter.

If, by some miracle, or through Elway’s Machiavellian maneuvers, the Broncos managed to get both Okung and Clady, the line would be in an interesting position.

“I don’t know if the two can coexist,” Williams said. “Bookends?”

While that would be great, it would be a tough pitch to get Okung to drop his fee within range, especially since he already has a Super Bowl ring.

“He’s probably looking at his last chance to cash in, to make a team pay,” Berry said.

If that’s the case, Denver probably isn’t the answer.

Listen to the full conversation below …

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