The Denver Broncos spent the bulk of the offseason trying to get a long-term deal done with safety Justin Simmons. However, it appears he will be playing on the franchise tag for the 2020 NFL season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Simmons has signed his one-year, $11.44 million tag.
Broncos’ S Justin Simmons officially has signed his franchise tag tender, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 14, 2020
Despite Simmons agreeing to play under the franchise tag, both sides were optimistic about getting a more lengthy deal done before the July 15 deadline. Unfortunately, it seems not much headway was made and he will ultimately become a free agent in 2021.
Reports indicate that the restrictions placed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have provided teams with another hurdle to deal with when it comes to contract negotiations. This is especially true for the Broncos considering they managed to sign the four players that were previously tagged to multi-year deals leading up to the deadline. The only player that managed to get a long-term contract off a tag was Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.
The onus will now fall on Simmons to prove that he should have joined Jones in receiving his lucrative payday. The former third-round pick has registered 289 tackles, 28 pass defenses, 11 interceptions, one touchdown, and two sacks over the first four seasons of his career. Despite all the promise he has shown, Denver will now need to wait until after the season to lock him down before he decides to test the market.