Everybody loves a good game of tag, well, at least we did when we were kids.
Not sure Broncos Safety Justin Simmons or for that matter Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott want to have the "Franchise Tag" placed on them for the 2nd straight season. But both players, along with a handful of others face that prospect as the league's window to tag players with either the "Franchise" or "Transition" tag. That window closes March 9th.
Teams don't want to tag a player, but it does give them more control when a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Once a player is tagged, they can't negotiate with other teams. And, once a tag is placed on a player the team can negotiate with them until July 15th. If a deal isn't reached by that date, the player will become a free agent after the season, which is what the Broncos are looking at with Simmons for the 2nd straight year.
Last year the franchise tag for a safety payed Simmons $11.44 Million. When a player is tagged for a second time, their salary is the average of the top 5 players at their position. Thus, if Simmons played on the tag for the 2nd year in a row, he'd make $13.729 Million this year.
The reason so many of us who cover the team think a deal will get done, myself included, is because at every turn, everyone has said they wanted the deal to get done, and want Justin Simmons to be a Bronco for a long time. President of Football Operations John Elway said it, Head Coach Vic Fangio said, and new General Manager George Paton said during his media tour shortly after being hired that they aren't in the habit of getting rid of their good young players.
Simmons was named the team's nominee as the Walter Payton Man of The Year for the 2nd straight year. Shortly after it was announced that Russell Wilson was the winner of this year's award, Simmons joined Michael Spencer from CBS 4. During that interview, Simmons detailed the first meeting he had in passing with Paton at The UC Health Training Center.
If you want more from that conversation, Spencer joined the Broncos Daily Podcast to describe Simmons mindset.
At the start of training camp, Simmons described how close a long term deal to getting done, when he was asked if he was disappointed a deal wasn't reached, "I wouldn't say disappointed, he said, "obviously, you were hoping for a long term deal. In the grand scheme of everything that's going on (with the Pandemic) this is a first for everyone. Unfortunately it just wasn't able to work out on both sides. Moving forward, I've always been a guy my whole career that's just been confident in myself and what I can do...Everything is always gonna work itself out, not to be the 'Super-Optimistic Guy' everything will always work itself out.
Simmons followed up a stellar season in 2019, when he was named 2nd Team All-Pro, with his first Pro Bowl Selection in 2020.
Also, Simmons hasn't missed a snap in 3 seasons, and not only has he not missed a snap, he's never left the field, in fact, he's been out there for 3,152 straight snaps since 2018.
Although the start of the "Franchise Tag" window is now open, Broncos fans should expect Simmons to have a long term deal by the July 15th, but likely way sooner.