Justin Simmons Set To Play On Tag?

2:47pm: While Simmons and the Broncos are engaged in discussions, they may be too far apart. The Broncos are not expected to give the fifth-year safety an extension by Wednesday’s deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. And the Broncos’ recent efforts to extend Simmons may not have been extensive, with Mike Klis of 9News indicating (via Twitter) the sides have not progressed since April.

2:18pm: Thus far, just one of the 15 franchise- or transition-tagged players have signed an extension. But the Broncos are still trying to finalize a deal with Justin Simmons. The sides are in talks leading up to Wednesday’s deadline, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.

The parties exchanged offers in April, but nothing much has transpired here since. But the Broncos have been known to reach 11th-hour extension agreements with tagged players. They extended Demaryius Thomas minutes before the 2015 deadline and re-upped Von Miller on deadline day the following summer. With the Broncos also extending Matt Prater (2012) and Ryan Clady (’13) after tagging them, they are 4-for-4 in this department under John Elway.

The 10th-year Broncos GM has said for months keeping Simmons was a top priority. The 26-year-old defender led all safeties with 15 passes defensed last season, when he finished as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest-graded safety.

Simmons has signed his tender, locking him into a $12.7MM 2020 payment. It is believed he wants to surpass $14MM per year on a long-term accord, which is the new standard for safeties. After 2018’s market dip, four safeties now top $14MM annually. The Bears’ Eddie Jackson, whose rise began under Broncos HC Vic Fangio, leads the pack at $14.6MM AAV.

Denver already has a highly paid safety in Kareem Jackson. The Broncos gave him a three-year, $33MM deal in 2019. However, that pact includes no guaranteed money beyond 2020. The Broncos have a team option on Jackson next year, so a Simmons extension may not overlap with his 32-year-old teammate’s for too long.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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