Broncos place franchise tag on Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons

The Denver Broncos are once again using the franchise tag on Justin Simmons.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Broncos are franchise tagging Simmons, per a source informed of the situation. The team made the move official later Friday.

The news comes a day after new general manager George Paton said the star safety is one the club wants to keep in Denver long-term.

"Justin's one of our core guys, and our goal since I got here [has been] to sign him to a long-term deal," Paton said Thursday, via the team's official website. "We've had good discussions with his agent. I don't know if we'll get a deal done or not, but that's our goal. He's the type of guy we want to extend."

Paton added Friday that tagging Simmons is "a procedural move that allows us to continue working on a long-term deal."

Simmons is a star who flourishes in Broncos coach Vic Fangio's system. His range and length make him a menace all over the field -- he can get to balls where other safeties come up short.

Playing on the franchise tag in 2020, Simmons earned his first Pro Bowl bid and was a second-team All-Pro. He generated a career-high five INTs and earned 96 tackles last season. Simmons was No. 5 on NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal's list of the top 101 free agents available.

Last year, John Elway tried to get a long-term deal with the safety done but came up short. Now it's Paton's turn to make an extension happen before the mid-July deadline to work out a multi-year contract. If sides can't strike a long-term solution this time around, Simmons will play for roughly $13.7 million on the one-year tender.

The Broncos have long talked about locking Simmons in for the long haul. This summer, they'll have another shot to do so after utilizing the franchise tag to ensure one of the top safeties in the NFL isn't going anywhere for at least one more season.

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