ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons, the team announced Friday.
President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway stressed the Broncos still hope to work out a long-term deal with the fifth-year safety.
"We remain focused on reaching a long-term contract agreement with Justin, and he's a big priority for us," Elway said Friday. "This is a placeholder in that process and our goal is the same — to make sure that Justin is a Bronco for a long time."
Simmons recorded four interceptions and 15 passes defensed while starting all 16 games in 2019. For the second consecutive season, Simmons played every defensive snap for the team.
In Head Coach Vic Fangio's scheme, Simmons set career bests in both interceptions and pass breakups in 2019. He was also named a second-team All-Pro, becoming the fifth Broncos safety to earn the honor.
The Broncos have several more months to finalize a long-term deal with Simmons, as the deadline to sign a designated franchise player isn't until July 15.
History suggests Broncos and Simmons may be able to come to an agreement before that deadline. During Elway's tenure in the Broncos' front office, he has applied the franchise tag on four players, excluding Simmons. All four — Matt Prater (2012), Ryan Clady (2013), Demaryius Thomas (2015) and Von Miller (2016) — agreed to long-term extensions with the team before the franchise deadline.
The franchise tag is a one-year tender offer that can be no less than the average of the top five salaries at the position.