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Broncos franchise tag Demaryius Thomas

With some degree of uncertainty clouding Denver's quarterback situation over the near future, the Broncos have taken the convenient route and used their non-exclusive franchise tag on star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, the team announced Monday.

The non-exclusive tag means that Thomas can negotiate with other teams, and the Broncos have the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.

The 6-3 wideout has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, all alongside Peyton Manning, who arrived in Denver back in 2012.

Thomas' numbers with Manning under center have been other-worldly -- 469 targets, 297 receptions, 4,483 yards, 15.1 yards per reception and 35 touchdowns. He has also not missed a game since 2011.

The tag, which will come in at $12.823 million is a great deal for a team that might want to rebuild next year anyway, depending on how the Manning era plays out.

For the Broncos, who are pressed tightly against the salary cap and will likely have to part ways with Pro Bowler Julius Thomas, the move will give them a year to examine the future without the pains of a long-term commitment.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the annual "Top 101 free agents" list and discusses the latest in league news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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