Denver Broncos All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady will miss the rest of the season because of a foot injury, leaving quarterback Peyton Manning without his most important pass protector on the offensive line.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Clady was placed on season-ending injured reserve after being diagnosed with a Lisfranc joint tear through the arch of his left foot that will require surgery, the team said in an e-mailed statement.
Clady signed a five-year contract with the Broncos in July that NFL.com said is worth $57.5 million. He’d started every game for Denver since being selected in the first round of the 2008 National Football League draft.
At left tackle, Clady is responsible for protecting the right-handed Manning’s back, or blind side, from defenders when he drops back to pass. Clady allowed one quarterback sack last year, when he was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time.
Clady will be replaced by Chris Clark, a former undrafted free agent who has made six starts -- all at tight end -- over the past four seasons with the Broncos. Denver also said today it signed free-agent tackle Winston Justice, a second-round draft pick in 2006.
Denver, which has scored an NFL-high 90 points in winning its first two games, hosts the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 23. The Broncos already were playing without centers Dan Koppen and J.D. Walton because of season-long injuries.