Denver Broncos President of Football Operations/GM John Elway confirmed what we all hoped the team would do. Safety Justin Simmons won’t be going anywhere. While he is an unrestricted free agent in 2020, the Broncos will either get a deal done before free agency or Simmons is getting that franchise tag and a long-term deal later on down the road this offseason.
“We want him back,” Elway said on Monday. “You know the options there. Before we came down, I talked to Justin and said, ‘You know what, we want you back.’ He’s a great football player, but he’s a better man. What he does outside of this building and what’s done in Denver has been tremendous. Just the type of guys he is. These are the type of guys that we want on this football team. Obviously, we have the franchise option there, but we’d like to get something done with Justin for the long term.”
More than likely, we’ll see Simmons get the tag first as the team and his agent work out a long-term contract deal over the coming months. I would expect a long-term deal to be announced prior to the season.
Simmons was asked about the tag and he doesn’t seem concerned. The Broncos have a history of tagging players while they work out the long-term deals.
“Anytime that’s it’s been used, long-term deals have been done,” Simmons said. “Either way I’ve looked at it, it’s a blessing either way. In my opinion, if a team wants you, you’ll be here. It’ll be a blessing either way. I’ve said it all season long, it’s no shocker that I want to stay. I love the defense. It works for me; I think I make it work just as well. I think it’s a good relationship. With that being said, it just has to work out. There’s no hiding that I want it to work out. I just hope it does. It’ll be exciting regardless. Whatever happens, I know it’s all on the Lord’s will. If it does happen, I’ll just further his kingdom, so it’ll be good.”
With Simmons as the young safety and Kareem Jackson as the veteran, the Broncos safety situation in 2020 will look pretty damn good. Head Coach Vic Fangio has liked what he has seen from Simmons and expects he’ll only get better as he reaches his peak as a pro athlete.
“He played great for us,” Fangio said. “I think he’ll still at the stage of his career where he can still improve more, especially within the inner workings of our defense and mastering some of the things we do even better, which will only come through reps. It won’t come through meetings. Really a good football player, a really good person and a really good teammate. He’s everything we want in a player.”
For all of the flak John Elway has gotten for his poor drafting history early on as a general manager, he nailed the 2016 NFL Draft (after the Paxton Lynch pick) and the 2018 and 2019 drafts. If the Broncos are to climb out of this post-Super Bowl hangover it has to be through stacking solid drafts and it sure looks like Elway has begun doing that.