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Elway: Broncos in 'active negotiations' with S Justin Simmons

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons in March, but Elway has been emphatic that the team hopes to work out a long-term deal with the 2019 second-team All-Pro.

It appears the two sides may be getting closer.

Elway said Monday that the Broncos are currently negotiating with Simmons and his agency.

"We've given them an offer, they gave us an offer back and so we're in active negotiations with Justin," Elway said.

The Broncos and Simmons have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal. After that point, Simmons would have to play the season on the franchise tag and the Broncos would not be able to negotiate a new deal with him until after the season.

Simmons, who is entering his fifth season, turned in his best season as a pro in 2019. In Head Coach Vic Fangio's defense, he posted career highs in interceptions (four) and passes defensed (15). Simmons has not missed a defensive snap in two full seasons.


Bryce Callahan, one of the Broncos' top free-agent acquisitions before last season, didn't play a single snap in 2019.

After largely recovering from a broken foot he suffered in 2018, Callahan reaggravated the injury during training camp and never appeared in a game for Denver. He tried a non-surgical procedure in an attempt to return to the field, but he eventually underwent another surgery to fix a bent screw in his foot.

Elway and the Broncos are hopeful Callahan can return to his previous form, which led them to slot him in as one of their top two cornerbacks.

"We're hopeful that things are coming along and he'll be ready by the time we get to training camp and then work back into things," Elway said. "We're hoping that Bryce can come back and play this year and play the way that we think he's capable of."


After a 4-1 finish to the season, the Broncos are moving forward with Drew Lock as their starting quarterback. That has been emphasized at every available avenue, and it was no different during Elway's availability on Monday.

And while the Broncos hope Lock continues to improve upon a brief rookie campaign, they've seen enough to head into 2020 with No. 3 under center.

"Obviously by no means has Drew made it," Elway said. "We believe he's got the potential to do it, and I think we think he's just going to continue to get better and better. But he's still in the learning process and know that he's going to have to get better. But we really liked what we saw … when he was on IR [injured reserve] and how he tried to prepare himself and get ready to play when he had a chance to play. And then [he] came in and played very well, won four out of the last five games. We feel that he's that guy.

"… We've decided that we're going to build around Drew, [and] give him that opportunity to take the job."


Outside linebacker Von Miller announced last week that he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and Elway applauded Miller for his decision to go public.

"I'm proud that Von's coming out and helping everybody with the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus," Elway said. "It goes to show you that it can affect anybody. … Von's doing fine, which is good. But also hopefully brought more attention to it, so I'm proud of Von."

Miller said on Friday he was feeling better. For a more in-depth look at Miller's COVID-19 diagnosis, click here.

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