The Denver Broncos are placing the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons for the second straight season, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.
Simmons, who was close to becoming an unrestricted free agent, becomes the first player to be tagged this offseason. The Broncos now have until July 15 to strike a long-term deal.
“Justin is one of our base guys, and our goal since coming here has been to sign him into a long-term deal,” Broncos general manager George Paton said Thursday. “We had good discussions 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 kind of guy we would like to extend.”
NFL teams have until March 9 at 4 p.m. ET to place the franchise tag on their most valuable player.
Simmons, the Broncos’ third-round pick in the 2016 draft, played on the franchise player label in 2020, worth $ 11.4 million. He finished with 96 tackles and five interceptions. It was his third straight season of 90 tackles. He’s always been an active player in running defense along the line of scrimmage with the versatility to deal with a variety of players on cover.
Simmons, 27, combines performance on the field and community engagement off the field, as he has played every defensive cliché for each of the past three seasons and was named last season’s Broncos nominee for the Walter Payton. Man of the Year Award.
When Paton was hired in January, Broncos president of football operations John Elway said trying to re-sign Simmons was “one of the biggest things” Paton had on his to-do list. .
Simmons has always been one of the most active players in the community and one of the team’s primary voices in social justice initiatives.
He won the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, bestowed by the Denver Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America each season to the Broncos player for recognizing professionalism and depth of media interactions. Simmons is the only three-time winner of the award since its inception in 2006.
ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.