Prior to the start of the free agency on March 17th, the Broncos placed the franchise day for the second consecutive year on Justin Simmons Friday Safety.
The team has informed Simmons of the decision. He can still negotiate with other teams, but the Broncos have the right to comply with any bid sheet. If they fail to do this, they will be given two draft picks for the first round.
« Naming Justin Franchise Tag is a step in the process that will allow us to continue working on a long-term business, » General Manager George Paton said in a statement. « We are fully focused on ensuring that Justin remains an important part of the Denver Broncos for years to come. »
Simmons, 27, will be the first player to be franchised tag this off-season and the second to tag in consecutive years. Jacksonville Safety Donovin Darius was recognized for three consecutive seasons from 2003 to 2005.
A player marked for the second consecutive year will be offered an offer of 120% of their previous year’s salary ($ 11.441 million). Simmons would receive $ 13.73 million, which is fully guaranteed upon signing. That wouldn’t stop the sides from continuing to work out a long-term deal.
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That Paton stamped the label could be an indication that the sides are not as far apart financially as they were last July. The Broncos and Simmons camp can try to work out a long-term deal by mid-July.
« Our goal since I’ve been here has been to sign him on a long-term contract, » said Paton on Thursday. “We had talks with his agent. I don’t know if we’re going to make a deal or not, but that’s our goal. He’s the type we want to expand. »
A long-term deal could help both sides. It would reward Simmons with the safety of millions of dollars in guaranteed money. For the Broncos, it would allow Paton & Co. to go free with spending flexibility, as a long-term contract would likely come with a lower cap hit at the front end, as has been the case with Garett Bolles this year ($ 5 million) . USD).
Simmons is productive (16 career interceptions) and long-lived (his 3,211 consecutive snaps are currently the longest streak for a defensive player). Simmons, selected by Boston College in the third round in 2016, became a full-time starter in 2017 and has 373 tackles in 74 games. He was a second-team all-pro in 2019 and a Pro Bowl selection last year.
In 2020, Simmons led the Broncos with five interceptions. He collected 96 tackles (72 solo), nine defended passes and one fiddly recovery. This made him the only player in the league with more than 90 tackles and five or more interceptions. He’s also one of five safeguards in the history of Broncos to be recognized as Pro Bowler and All-Pro on the team.
During Paton’s tenure as Vikings manager, Minnesota used the Franchise Tag twice, one of which tags resulted in a long-term business. The Vikings placed the 2011 day on linebacker Chad Greenway, but then got a multi-year contract before the deadline. Last year, Safety played Anthony Harris on the day.