Broncos would rather not have to franchise tag Justin Simmons again

The Denver Broncos obviously hope they can retain Justin Simmons over the long-term, and Simmons is obviously hoping things work out to where he can be in Denver for the long haul.

John Elway said it. Simmons has said it many times over. Even new general manager George Paton talked about not letting good, young players go.

The Denver Broncos have the option of the franchise tag for a second straight season with Justin Simmons, though there is no certainty Simmons would play on another one-year pact. It would be difficult for anyone to turn down a fully guaranteed $13.7 million, though.

Still, after making $11.4 million on the franchise tag last year, Simmons got a substantial raise and has a bit more leverage there.

In a recent segment on NFL Network, league insider Ian Rapoport discussed a number of franchise tag candidates around the league, one being Broncos safety Justin Simmons. At the end of his segment, he noted that the Broncos do not want to have to tag Simmons a second time, but that their hope is for a long-term deal before that time.

Rap Sheet’s full quote goes like this:

They’d like to get a long-term deal done with Simmons. They’re going to try to do this before they have to tag him a second time. If they do tag him a second time — $13.7 million — but obviously the goal of the organization is to avoid that and just lock him in now.

Ian Rapoport, NFL Network

The window opens for teams to be able to franchise tag players on Tuesday, February 23. The Broncos are clearly not likely to immediately throw the franchise tag at Simmons, and why would they?

The pecking order at the safety position around the league is pretty clear right now in terms of how much guys are getting paid. No one at the safety position has yet reached the $15 million average annual value on a contract, but Simmons could be the first in league history to do it.

Although it was not John Elway’s style to reset the market with his own free agents at every position, there is definitely a chance this could be the way George Paton rolls.

We will have to wait and see what happens here but obviously, Simmons would prefer a long-term contract and the Broncos prefer a long-term contract, so hopefully, the two sides can come to an agreement before the tag has to be used a second time.

If that is the case, we could see a new deal happen within the next couple of weeks so the Broncos — and Simmons — can avoid the franchise tag.