John Elway: Franchise tag a “placeholder” for new Justin Simmons contract

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The Broncos placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons on Friday in a move that was expected if they weren’t able to agree to a long-term deal.

In the official announcement of the move, Broncos General Manager John Elway said the use of the tag did not stop that process. He said the hope is still to find a way to reach a multi-year deal before the July 15 deadline.

“We remain focused on reaching a long-term contract agreement with Justin, and he’s a big priority for us,” Elway said in a statement. “This is a placeholder in that process and our goal is the same — to make sure that Justin is a Bronco for a long time.”

Simmons said last month that he didn’t know if he’d sit out of offseason work if he was playing under the tag, but that may be a moot point if the contract talks go well.