DENVER — Long-term security remains the goal for Justin Simmons, but at the very least the Broncos’ safety is willing to play the 2020 season on a one-year, $11.441 million salary.
Simmons through his agent Todd France notified the Broncos earlier this week he will sign the franchise tag, a source told 9NEWS. The Broncos and France/Simmons are expected to continue to negotiate a long-term deal before the Wednesday deadline.
If there’s no agreement by Wednesday, Simmons has at minimum agreed to bet on himself and play this season on a one-year, $11.441 deal. Simmons’ initial asking price on a long-term deal figured to come in near the $14.6 million annual average the Chicago Bears gave safety Eddie Jackson back in January. The Broncos’ initial offer was closer to $13 million, a source told 9NEWS.
It’s not known where negotiations stand now. A deal that averages $14 million a year would put Simmons in a three-way tie with Landon Collins and Tyrann Mathieu for the third-highest paid safety.
Would the Broncos go that far? Perhaps complicating negotiations is an expected reduction in league revenues in light of the coronavirus. The NFL has already cancelled 10 percent of its schedule by wiping out two preseason games and there is a strong possibility the remaining games will be played with significantly reduced crowds.
Five days before the deadline, not one of the 14 franchise-tagged players have reached a multiyear agreement with their teams, although 10, including Simmons, have agreed on the one-year tender placeholder.
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Simmons is coming off a career-best season in which he had four interceptions and 93 tackles while playing 100 percent of the defensive snaps for a second consecutive season. With or without a long-term deal, Simmons will report to training camp at the Broncos’ UCHealth Training Center on July 28. Bronco rookies will report July 21.
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