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Justin Simmons Says Broncos Could've Gotten New Contract 'If They'd Wanted'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2020

Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons (31) reacts against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons said he was willing to sign a multiyear contract extension with the team before Wednesday's deadline. 

Simmons, who received the Broncos' franchise tag in March, discussed the lack of a long-term deal and his expectations under head coach Vic Fangio in 2020.

"If they wanted, they could've gotten it done," he said Friday on the NFL Network's Good Morning Football. "Year 2 in Vic's system. I'm more than confident in my ability."

He later addressed reaction to the comments on Twitter:

Justin Simmons @jsimms1119

A deal is two sided. Never single handedly blamed anyone. Reality is if it was going to happen it would have. I’m thankful for another year to play ball and would appreciate you not trying to divide myself and the team. https://t.co/cRWUbBfawY

Simmons previously signed the one-year franchise tender, so he'll earn $11.4 million for the 2020 campaign and be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The 26-year-old Boston College product has steadily developed into one of the NFL's best safeties since the Broncos selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft.

He's coming off a terrific 2019 season that saw him record 93 total tackles, 15 passes defended and four interceptions across 16 appearances. He earned a Second Team All-Pro selection and received an elite 90.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

"We like smart safeties, guys that can tackle and guys that enjoy playing the game from the cerebral side as safeties, and he does that," Fangio told reporters in February. "He's a good fit for us."

Now the deadline has passed, the sides can't agree on a long-term extension until after the 2020 season. Simmons must either play under the one-year tender or hold out, though there has been no early indication he's considering the latter.

He's slated to start opposite Kareem Jackson at safety for the Broncos, who finished 11th in pass defense last year and have a chance to improve on that mark this season thanks to a talented secondary that added cornerback A.J. Bouye in a March trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Simmons would likely be one of the top free agents on the open market next offseason if the Broncos don't retain him with an extension or the franchise tag for a second straight year.

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