Broncos safety Justin Simmons has accepted his franchise tender, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Simmons will make it all official this weekend, ensuring that he’ll be back in Denver this season.
Simmons previously indicated that he wouldn’t skip Broncos activities and he ultimately kept his word. There was some speculation that agent Todd France would talk him into playing hardball, but that never came to fruition. Now, Simmons is set to play out the season on a one-year, $12.7MM deal.
Bears standout Eddie Jackson stands as the league’s highest-paid safety at $14.6MM per year, and Simmons would like to top that figure. The belief is that Simmons wants a deal that pays him ~$14MM annually, but the Broncos already have his partner Kareem Jackson on a three-year, $33MM deal. There’s clear mutual interest in a longer arrangement, but it’s an expensive proposition.
Simmons, 27 in November, graded out as the 2nd best safety in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus. The traditional stats also positioned him as a stud – four interceptions, 15 passes defended, and 93 tackles, tied for the second-highest tally on the team.
With Simmons’ contract squared away, there are four stragglers left in the NFL. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, Buccaneers edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue remain unsigned, and at least one of those players seems destined for a holdout (we’re looking at you, Yannick). Teams have until July 15th to hammer out long-term deals with each of those franchise-tagged players. If not, the two sides will have to wait until next year to resume talks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.