Prior to the start of free agency, the Broncos ensured that star safety Justin Simmons would remain in Denver for at least the 2021 season by placing the franchise tag on him. Now, the club is locking him in for much longer than that. According to Benjamin Albright of KOA in Colorado, the Broncos have signed Simmons to a long-term contract. Specifically, Albright reports that it's a four-year deal worth $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed. Those figures now make Simmons the highest-paid safety in the entire NFL.
Denver placed the franchise tag on Simmons for the second-consecutive year earlier this month, but the front office was adamant that this was hopefully just a placeholder for a longer-term deal like the one that is coming into focus. Under the tag, Simmons was looking at approximately $13.73 million for 2021. Under this reported deal, the 27-year-old is looking at an average annual salary of around $15.25 million.
"Designating Justin with the franchise tag is a procedural move that allows us to continue working on a long-term deal," Broncos GM George Paton said at the time of the tag. "We are completely focused on making sure Justin remains a big part of the Denver Broncos for many years to come."
Simmons has spent his entire career with the Broncos after the club selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Boston College. The 6-foot-2, 202 pounder has since blossomed into one of the better safeties the league has to offer, being named second-team All-Pro in 2019 and elected to the Pro Bowl in 2020.
In 16 games played last season, Simmons tallied 96 tackles, defended nine passes and had a career-high five interceptions.