It's unclear where things end up landing between Justin Simmons and the Denver Broncos. In 2020, the team franchise tagged the talented safety after failing to come to terms on a long-term deal, one he'd end up playing the season under and setting the stage for him to again approach unrestricted free agency in 2021. With the NFL tag deadline of March 9 rapidly approaching, the Broncos must again make this very same decision, albeit with a new face at calling the shot. With John Elway being moved out of the general manager seat and George Paton brought on to take over the role, Simmons isn't completely sure if he'll be tagged again.
He does believe the Broncos want to keep him onboard, though, a point he communicated openly in a recent Q&A with SiriusXM NFL Radio, as he nears either free agency, a second tag or a long-term deal in the next several days.
"From everything that I've heard and that I've been a part of for five years now, it seems like Denver wants me back and I want to be there," Simmons said, via Pro Football Talk. "At the end of the day, it is a business. It's just a matter of it working out on both sides."
Simmons is currently one of the most prominent names scheduled to become available for signing, and the All-Pro will see no shortage of interest should the Broncos fail to secure him in one way or the other.
A second tag will cost Denver approximately $13.73 million in 2021, a number that falls shy of Simmons' projected market value -- presently hovering around $15.4 million annually, per Spotrac. Salary cap space is mostly a non-issue for the Broncos this offseason and that should grease the wheel in talks with the Pro Bowler, considering the club has approximately $47.7 million in space, based upon the agreed upon cap floor of $180 million, and that's a number that could increase if a higher cap is agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA.
Already one of the best at his position entering 2020, Simmons one-upped himself by having a second consecutive career-best season, racking up 77 solo tackles (96 combined) to go along with nine pass break ups and five interceptions. Also highly durable, he hasn't missed a single start since the 2017 season, having missed only six regular season games in all since entering the league as the Broncos third-round pick in 2016.
If there's any player they'd want to have stick around, it's Simmons, and he's waiting to see how they achieve it in 2021.