Coming off the first Pro Bowl of his career, right tackle Tyson Clabo is looking forward to testing the free agent market, but hopes to remain with the Falcons, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I’m excited,” Clabo said. “It’s something that I felt that I’d earned last year and didn’t get. So the prospect of actually getting there is exciting. But, I don’t really know if I will get there because, hopefully, Atlanta will do what they need to do to keep me. Obviously, I want to be in Atlanta. But the thing about that, only time will tell.”
Undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2004, the 6-foot-7, 332-pound Clabo had stints with the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and San Diego Chargers before joining the Falcons practice squad in 2005. Clabo became a full-time starter in the 2006 season, and has started 61 straight regular and postseason games, primarily at right tackle.
Denied a chance to test free agency last offseason, playing the 2010 season under a one-year, “First Round” restricted free agent tender worth $2.521 million in base salary. Top right tackles can expect to receive between $6 million and $7 million per season on long-term contracts, which means Clabo could sign a contract worth over $30 million over the next five seasons.
Ledbetter adds that the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks are expected to bid on Clabo. Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network also named the Seahawks as a potential bidder on Clabo, but after using first-round picks in back-to-back years on offensive tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter, Seattle may view Clabo as a guard.
With the hiring of former Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable as assistant head coach/offensive line, the Seahawks have been rumored to be going after free agent guard Robert Gallery once free agency opens up. Clabo and Gallery (6-foot-7, 325 pounds) are similar in size and disposition, and Clabo started 10 games at guard on a Cable-coached Falcons offensive line in 2006.