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Agent: Julius Thomas getting pushed from Broncos

The Broncoswon't hesitate to slap the franchise tag on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, but the future of tight end Julius Thomas remains up in the air.

Set to become a free agent next month, Thomas appears ready to part ways with the team after back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns in Denver. His agent, Frank Bauer, says talks with the Broncos have gone quiet since last summer.

"The Broncos came to me, we tried to get it done, it didn't work," Bauer told The Denver Post on Friday. "Does Julius love Denver? Yes. Does Julius love the fans there? No question. Does he love the organization and the community? Look at what he does for kids in that town.

"But for some reason people are trying to tear him down. In my opinion what they're doing by tearing him down is pushing him away."

The Post was told that negotiations crumbled before the season after the Broncos offered Thomas a five-year, $40 million pact that would have made him the third-highest-paid tight end behind Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.

"The main thing was the structure," Bauer said. "In any contract in the National Football League, it all has to do with how the guarantees are written. Are there full skill/injury/cap guarantees? Or are they conditional? There are clubs that do it the old way. And they're getting their players done and keeping their own. In this case, the guarantees were too low. The guarantees were conditional."

Thomas has operated as a key cog in Denver's offense of late, piling up 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Losing him would strip the air attack of one of the league's premier pass-catching weapons while leaving Peyton Manning -- if he returns -- without a go-to tight end. The likes of Virgil Green, Jacob Tamme and Dominique Jones can't make up for what Thomas has brought to the table.

If he goes to market -- and he will -- look for plenty of teams to come calling on one of the league's most intriguing X factors.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down all the latest from the combine and gives updates on Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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