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Ryan Clady knows exactly how Demaryius Thomas feels

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There is about an 80-pound difference between the two men, but that doesn’t mean Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady hasn’t walked in Demaryius Thomas’ shoes a bit.

Clady is one of the three players -- Thomas and former kicker Matt Prater are the others -- to have been designated a franchise player by the team's current upper management team. Prater had the designation in 2012, just before he signed a new four-year contract.

And Clady was designated the franchise player in March 2013 before he signed a five-year, $52.5 million deal in July of that year, just one day before the deadline for teams to ink franchised players prior to the coming season. Clady said Wednesday a player has to leave the potential distraction of contract negotiations behind, however, as he goes through the process.

“You kind of try to just work out and leave that to your agent,’’ Clady said. “Just think about improving your body and working out in the offseason. That’s got to be the approach you’ve got to have.’’

Like Thomas, who will not attend the Broncos’ offseason program until either a new deal is completed or training camp begins, whichever comes first, Clady did not attend the Broncos’ offseason work during his time under the tag. Clady added that he tried to prepare himself for either scenario -- getting a new, long-term deal with the team or playing under the one-year tender that comes with the franchise player tag.

“You hope that you get something done by mid July,’’ Clady said. “But if not, you’ve just got to go into it one day at a time and try to stay healthy.’’

That one-year tender is for the average of the five biggest salaries at the position or for 120 percent of the tagged player’s salary from the previous season, whichever is larger. For Clady, in 2013, that tender was $9.828 million; for Thomas this season it is $12.823 million.

Thomas, who said in recent weeks he is working out in Atlanta, has not yet signed the tender. This year the deadline for teams to sign a player with the franchise designation is July 15, or roughly two weeks before the Broncos will open training camp.

Thomas told ESPN.com two weeks ago he hoped, and expected, a new deal could get worked out and that if no deal was completed by July 15, he would still be “100 percent ready to go.’’

Thomas added “my agent is dealing with that right now. I'm in the loop, but I'm letting (John) Elway and my agent handle that, come up with something.’’ Thomas also said he would not do “anything to hurt the team’’ as far as his teammates’ Super Bowl aspirations.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 27-year-old Thomas is second in the NFL with 28 100-yard receiving games in the regular season and postseason combined, including 10 100-yard games last season. His 226 yards in the Broncos' Oct. 5 win over the Arizona Cardinals were a franchise record, as were his 1,619 yards receiving last season.

Thomas has had three consecutive seasons with at least 92 receptions, 1,430 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He is only the third player in league history to have three consecutive seasons of at least 1,400 yards receiving and at least 10 touchdowns; Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison are the others.