The NFL has reached what some call “franchise tag Monday” and the Broncos wasted no time in making their move to keep their youngest, brightest star on the roster.

A move that has been highly likely for weeks was made Monday. The dynamic wide receiver of the Denver Broncos, Demaryius Thomas has been given the “non-exclusive” franchise tag. The team confirmed the news early Monday afternoon.

The move will pay Thomas slightly over $12.8 million dollars this season. The salary is based on the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL. The “non-exclusive” tag means that other teams will be able to speak with Thomas and make offers but the Broncos in turn, will be able to match any offer. If the Broncos choose not to match an offer from another team, Thomas can sign with said team but the Broncos would be compensated with two first-round draft picks.

Thomas and his agent have been unsuccessful in reaching a long-term deal with the Broncos. As a result the franchise tag was the only option to almost guarantee his return for at least one more season. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Thomas was offered a deal that would have paid him about $13 million a year in August but the receiver declined to accept it.

The tag does not finalize Thomas’ salary this year. The team can continue to negotiate a long-term deal until the July 15 deadline to sign the tag designation but currently both sides seem undetermined to come to a middle ground.

In a statement the Denver Broncos clarified the move and their thoughts of Thomas’ future with the team.

“This is another step in our efforts to extend Demaryius’ contract and ensure he remains a Denver Bronco,” Elway said. “We will continue working toward a long-term agreement with Demaryius, who is a very important part of our team.”

Thomas is coming off of another amazing season in which he surpassed several team records and amassed 1,619 receiving yards. In his five-season career he has hauled in 351 receptions for 5,317 yards with 41 touchdowns. Over the last three years he has lead the NFL in receiving yards and has been one of the most explosive weapons in all of football.

It will be interesting to see how Thomas reacts to the tag designation. Players in the NFL have handled the tag in several different ways. Some have felt slighted by the tag and skipped offseason programs and mandatory minicamps. The tag allows them to do so without penalty. Thomas has been a silent leader in the locker room but this move is uncharted waters for No. 88.

The move will also reiterate John Elway’s recent statements of allowing his remaining free agents to test the market next week. Player’s like Julius Thomas, Terrence Knighton and Orlando Franklin top the list of players who are likely to receive large contract offers from around the league.

Email Sam at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @SamCowhick.

For complete coverage of the Denver Broncos here.