Justin Simmons expects franchise tag from Broncos

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Justin Simmons is scheduled to become a free agent next month, but the Broncos safety knows his future is out of his hands.

Simmons expects the Broncos to use the franchise tag on him.

Simmons ranks 16th on PFT’s list of top-100 free agents and will find a healthy market if he does hit free agency. But he doesn’t expect that to happen.

“We expect to get franchise tagged,” Simmons said Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We’re kind of sitting on the optimistic side of things just because in the past when the Broncos have used the tag, and [John] Elway has used it, they’ve always worked out a long-term deal. We’re pretty confident we’ll be able to work something out. Just excited, learning to appreciate the process and enjoy it.”

Simmons recently said he didn’t know whether he would show up for offseason work while tagged or not.

But Monday he expressed optimism at getting a long-term deal worked out with the Broncos eventually.

“I’ve always been the type of guy that consistently bet on myself,” Simmons said. “Out of high school, felt like I was under-recruited. Even coming out of Boston College, an under-the-radar type of guy. Even now, even though we feel like obviously we deserve to be paid in a long-term contract, and that is still an opportunity to be doing so, if we are under the franchise tag, just another opportunity to present itself to kind of cement that we’re always confident in what we can do and things of that nature. We’ll see how it all plays out. If we do get franchised, there’s still the opportunity of working out a long-term deal, which has been done in the past with Elway and the Broncos, but we’ll just have to sit back and wait and see.”

Simmons, 26, made 93 tackles, four interceptions and 15 pass breakups last season. He has yet to make the Pro Bowl, but he has played in 58 of 64 games and seems to be scratching the surface of how good he can become.

The Broncos also have cornerback Chris Harris among their free agents to be.