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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Broncos set stage for Marshall to leave

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Do you need any more proof that Denver is preparing to part ways with receiver Brandon Marshall?

Marshall
Marshall
The team assigned a first-round tender to the talented, yet troubled receiver. Denver is just begging for a team to take Marshall. If Denver really wanted to keep Marshall it would have given him the highest tender, which would have required first- and third-round picks as compensation if another team signed him.

Putting the first-round tender on Marshall also sets the trade market. Teams can offer Denver a trade package for Marshall and this tender sets the bar. An NFL head coach said at the combine that he believes Denver will get a first-round pick for Marshall.

Expect Denver to have discussions with several teams about Marshall in the coming days. He is definitely priced to move, which is why some suggest Chicago may make a run at Marshall. The problem for the Bears is that they don’t have a first- or second-round pick this year. Chicago’s first-round pick was sent to Denver in the Jay Cutler trade last year.

Denver also gave the first-round tender to quarterback Kyle Orton and guard Chris Kuper. Both of those players probably will not attract a first-round pick. They should stay in Denver.

The Broncos treated defensive end Elvis Dumervil the way Marshall was expecting to be treated -- he was given the highest tender. Teams will be interested in Dumervil, who led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. Still, the price tag may be too high for teams to pursue Dumervil. Expect him to stay in Denver.

Denver gave the second-round tender to tight end Tony Scheffler and did not tender defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, allowing him to test the open market.