With training camp officially less than a week away, the Denver Broncos will have plenty of work to prepare for the upcoming season. With recent suspensions of executives Matt Russell and Tom Heckert after being charged with DUIs, the executive vice president of football operations John Elway will be left with plenty on his hands. Of those things on Elway's to do list, near the top should be extending LB Wesley Woodyard.
Woodyard's agent Tom Fleming recently reached out to the Denver Broncos about getting a new deal done. Woodyard advised Flemming to tell the Broncos that his client would like to get a new deal done before the start of the 2013-2014 season.
Woodyard is coming off a breakout season where recorded career highs with 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 3 interceptions. Even then, the stats alone do not fully justify the impact on the team. Woodyard is a born leader and has been since he put on the blue and orange. In fact, the University of Kentucky linebacker is one of only two players in Bronco history to captain in each of his five first seasons. Woodyard's contribution for the Denver Broncos doesn't stop there, however. Woodyard has been a model citizen ever since he signed his first contract with the team. Woodyard is notorious for doing several community outreach programs and charities. Of the charities he does, Woodyard has his own annual charity, The Woodyard's 16 Ways Foundation.
Woodyard is entering the final season of a two-year deal worth $5 million. As it stands now, Woodyard is set to make a base salary of $3 million and will be a free agent at the end of the year. If Woodyard has another season like he did in 2012 and hits the free agent market, he will have plenty of suitors bidding for his services at a premium price. The longer this gets drawn out, the more the Broncos will have to pay.
If no deal is reached, the Broncos do have the option to franchise tag Wesley Woodyard. There's a few potential problems with using the franchise tag, however. If franchised, the Broncos would have to pay a higher salary for the year instead of getting a better bargain by working out a longer deal. The Broncos would also risk the chance of upsetting the linebacker and making it a hazardous situation down the line.
This is why the Broncos would be wise to lockup the young, surging linebacker soon. If they don't, they will not like what the alternative will bring.