After going 4-for-4 in extensions for franchise-tagged players during his GM tenure, John Elway will not finalize an agreement with the Broncos’ most recent tag recipient. This was the expectation. The sides are not believed to have been close on terms since they exchanged offers in April.
The Broncos and Justin Simmons amicably agreed to disagree Wednesday, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). Simmons will play the season on his $11.4MM tag price, joining Vikings safety Anthony Harris in that regard.
Denver had previously extended Matt Prater, Ryan Clady, Demaryius Thomas and Von Miller. While the team had not used the tag since Miller’s 2016 deadline-day deal, Elway identified Simmons as the team’s top in-house priority this offseason. Simmons has signed his tender and is on track to be at training camp for the Broncos.
Simmons, who graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 overall safety last season (behind Harris), emerged as the top player to come out of the Broncos’ 2016 draft class. Last season, the former third-round pick led all safeties with 15 passes defensed and intercepted a career-high four passes. The Broncos will now have two $11MM-per-year safeties, with Kareem Jackson entering the second season of his three-year, $33MM pact. Simmons stands to cost more. It is believed he wants to be paid north of $14MM per year. That is the new going rate for top safeties.
Minutes away from the tag deadline, only Chris Jones has finalized a deal. Derrick Henry and the Titans are on the doorstep, however. That will send the other 12 franchise-tagged players into the season on one-year deals.
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