Justin Simmons on possible franchise tag: I don’t know if I’d sit out

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Impending free agent safety Justin Simmons knows he’d like to continue playing for Broncos head coach Vic Fangio in 2020, but he’s not sure how he’d respond if the Broncos secure his return by using the franchise tag.

Contract talks between Simmons’ camp and Broncos General Manager John Elway have not heated up at this point and the tag will remain a possibility as long as no agreement is reached by the March 10 deadline to use it. Simmons said recently that he can’t say whether he’d show up for offseason work while tagged or not.

“My whole idea is I can’t control it if it happens or not,” Simmons said, via Mike Klis of KUSA. “But if it does happen, I don’t know if I’m the type of guy who would sit out. Playing is my passion and if it happens, it happens. Obviously, we’d like to get a long-term deal done and speaking with Elway and all the guys there, they’re great and I love the system. I think the system fits for both parties — for myself and for Vic. We’re just excited, like I said. It’s a time where you don’t get in this position often and we’re trying to find ways to enjoy it.”

Simmons’ talks with the Broncos will come with a new wrinkle after the team hired Rich Hurtado as their vice president of football administration. Hurtado had been an agent at CAA and he represented Simmons before taking on his new job, which will call for him to be a big part of any contract talks with Simmons this offseason.

Simmons said the change in dynamic is “interesting, but it will be fun” to deal with Hurtado as he tries to secure the deal he wants in Denver.