Broncos, Simmons working on long-term deal before deadline

The Denver Broncos haven't given up hope of locking down safety Justin Simmons to a multi-year deal before the Wednesday deadline.

NFL Network's James Palmer reported Monday that while Simmons agreed to sign his tag, both sides are continuing to talk to see if they can get a long-term deal done, per a source informed of the situation.

Palmer noted that while there is a chance a deal doesn't get done by the 4 p.m. ET on July 15, each of the four players previously tagged by GM John Elway have reached multi-year deals before the deadline.

With uncertainty shrouding the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it could affect the salary cap situation in 2021, the 15 tagged players haven't generated any traction toward long-term deals. Not one tagged player has signed a multi-year deal yet.

Could Simmons become the first or only?

Elway was adamant when employing the franchise tag that it was simply working as a "placeholder" as the sides worked toward a long-term deal. That was pre-COVID lockdowns, however.

The 26-year-old safety has become a dynamite playmaker on the Broncos' back end, starting 45 games over the last three seasons. In his four seasons after being a third-round pick out of Boston College, Simmons has compiled 289 tackles, 28 passes defended, 11 interceptions, one TD and two sacks. The ballhawk graded out as Pro Football Focus' top safety in 2019.

With the safety market sluggish recently, it would be interesting if Simmons gets a deal done during the pandemic. If no multi-year contract is signed by the deadline, Simmons would make $11.44 million on his one-year tender in 2020.

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