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Broncos to franchise Demaryius Thomas if needed

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Demaryius Thomas will be a Bronco in 2015 one way or the other.

Denver general manager John Elway told local reporters Thursday that if the team is unable to agree on a long-term deal with their top wideout, they will absolutely use the franchise tag on Thomas.

Elway's statement echoes what NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport initially reported last week on NFL Network.

With the very likely possibility that they have a one-year window to operate with Peyton Manning, the move would be a smart one for Elway to make. The quarterback position is uncertain enough for the near future, so there's no downside to waiting another year before finalizing a lengthy commitment to Thomas.

The only problem with franchising the receiver will be that Denver loses any negotiating power they had with tight end Julius Thomas, who is all but certain to hit free agency and can almost certainly get a better deal elsewhere.

Elway's comments simply mirror the prevailing thought surrounding the Broncos' offseason: Demaryius was viewed as the more valuable commodity.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down RGIII's appointment as starter and Larry Fitzgerald's new deal with the Cardinals. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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