Broncos Tag Safety Justin Simmons

The Broncos are applying the franchise tag again to star safety Justin Simmons according to Benjamin Albright.

Because Simmons was tagged last season his franchise tag number will not be based on the salary cap this year but instead will receive a 120% raise over last season’s salary. This will bring Simmons tag value to $13.729 million for 2021. It is doubtful that the Broncos used the exclusive tag as the cost of that tag would be $15.2 million and likely would go down if the team waited longer.

Simmons is still free to sign with any team in the NFL but given that nobody signed him last year to an offer sheet it would be safe to say that he will exclusively be negotiating with the Broncos. It would cost a team two first round draft picks if they signed Simmons to an offer sheet and it was not matched by Denver. This tag, as discussed in our free agency guide, was a given this year if no long term deal was reached. The cost is too cheap and the player too valuable to let him walk freely.

In my opinion the longer Denver waits the more expensive Simmons may become. There are a number of good free agent safeties who may push the market this year and there is the big albatross of a Jamal Adams extension that could come prior to the deadline to sign Simmons to a long term contract. If anything it probably pays to wait in Simmons case now depending on how strong an offer comes from Denver.

Because this is Simmons second franchise tag he won’t be tagged again as a third tag would escalate Simmons price to that of a quarterback. There have been very few non-quarterbacks who have actually played on a second franchise tag so I would think the odds are high that a long term deal happens sooner rather than later. We estimate the Broncos to have about $30 million in cap space, including the franchise tag for Simmons.

OTC 2021 Free Agency Guide

  • Welcome to our very first OTC Football Free Agency Guide, a 240 page PDF that not only offers a preview of some of the top free agents in 2021 but an in-depth review of how teams have successfully (and not so successfully) utilized free agency in the past. The book hits on many of the topics that we discuss on OTC or social media outlets when we get into opinions on free agency as well as a unique retroactive look at free agency that is an area not really focused on in the past.

    The book is broken down into three sections and includes the following:

    Free Agent Outcomes From 2015 to 2019

    We look back at how much every team spent on free agents between 2015 and 2019 and how that spending translated into wins in the season of signing. We look at results of offensive and defensive spending based on the team’s prior seasons record to identify some of the biggest spenders in the NFL and what spending levels have brought some success. We further break down spending by position to compare the results based on spending levels and with the control groups who did not spend on a particular position in the offseason.

    Individual Positional Outcomes From 2014 to 2020

    We go back and look at every UFA who switched teams from 2014 to 2020 to identify contract expectations based on the size and length of a contract. Contracts are grouped in different ways to determine the expected years to be completed on a contract and ultimate contract outcome. We grouped every position into different salary tiers and compared the average various statistical performances in the two years leading up to free agency with how those groups performed in the year they switched teams and, where applicable, in future years.

    Free Agent Projections for 2021

    Finally, we have profiles of 77 unrestricted free agents that include thoughts on each player, their OTC valuation metric performance over the last two years, a list of five potential comparable players and how they compare statistically with the free agent and the key metrics of those contract to help frame the market of the player. Finally, we arrive at a projection that includes years, average annual value, and guarantee.

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