The Denver Broncos are placing the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons for the second successive season, it was announced Friday.
Simmons, who was poised to become an unrestricted free agent, becomes the first player to be tagged this offseason. The Broncos now have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal.
“Designating Justin with the franchise tag is a procedural move that allows us to continue working on a long-term deal,” general manager George Paton said in a statement Friday. We are completely focused on making sure Justin remains a big part of the Denver Broncos for many years to come.”
NFL teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to place the franchise tag on their most valuable player.
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Simmons, the Broncos’ third-round pick in the 2016 draft, played on the franchise player tag in 2020, worth $11.4 million.
He concluded with 96 tackles and five interceptions. It was his third consecutive 90-tackle season. He has consistently been an active player in run defense along the line of scrimmage with the versatility to match up on a variety of players in coverage.
The 27-year-old has the combination of on-field performance and off-field community engagement, given that he has played every defensive snap for each of the past three campaigns and was the Broncos’ nominee this past season 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 consistently been one of the most active players in the community and one of the team’s leading voices in social justice initiatives.
He has acquired the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, given out by the Denver chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America each season to a Broncos player to recognize professionalism and depth in interactions with the media. Simmons is the only three-time winner of the award since it started in 2006.
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