Clarett passes on guaranteed dough

One thing’s for sure about Maurice Clarett: He has balls. Not a lot of brains, presumably, but he’s got stones. He said all along that he was a first-round talent so when it came time to negotiate his contract with the Denver Broncos, who chose Clarett with the final pick in the third round of last April’s draft, Clarett elected to forgo $410,000 in guaranteed money to sign an incentive-laden deal that could net him as much as $7 million. ESPN reports that, while the details of the contract are sketchy, Clarett could hit an escalator worth more than $1 million if he rushes for 1,000 yards, and the money continues to increase along with the yardage totals. While you’ve got to admire Clarett’s desire to prove his doubters wrong and his willingness to put his money where his mouth is, this seems like an awful big risk for the former Ohio State back to take. The Broncos, as always, are loaded at running back, with Ron Dayne, Quentin Griffin and, the two backs with the best shot at starting this year, Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell. There’s no guarantee that Clarett is going to see much playing time at all this season and, while Dayne has proven he’s anything but an every-down NFL back and Anderson may not be a long-term solution, the Broncos love Bell, a 5-11 second-year back out of Oklahoma State who ran for nearly 400 yards on just 75 carries last year. Clarett obviously is confident that his skills will translate into first-round money sometime down the road, but this may very well prove to be a decision he regrets before it’s all said and done.

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