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Tracking the latest free agency rumors for Justin Simmons

Justin Simmons has grown into a key component of this Denver defense. We break down what it means heading into 2020 free agency and track rumors around the young, promising defensive back.

NFL: Denver Broncos-OTA Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We could be looking at one of the biggest free agency periods in recent memory if some of the notable names actually hit the open market. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Derrick Henry are just a few of the big names set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year opens on March 18th. One or more stands a good chance of signing a contract with their current team before then, but there is a chance one or more is taking calls when the tampering period opens on March 16th.

2019 in review

Simmons’ 2019 season was the best of his four-year career. He contributed to a total of 93 tackles, picked the ball off four times (career-high) and tripled his next highest season total for passes defended with 15. Despite finishing with a 7-9 record, Denver’s defense allowed the ninth-fewest passing yards in the league. Simmons was definitely a big contributor in that department.

Now, the young defensive back will enter free agency for the first time in his career. Though he doesn’t expect to make any big changes.

Possible destinations

All signs are pointing to Simmons staying in Denver. “Signs” probably isn’t even the right word to use, more like “quotes.” On Feb. 24, Simmons said on SiriusXM NFL Radio via ProFootballTalk, “we expect to get franchise tagged.” Then, a day later, Broncos GM John Elway added, “if we don’t get something done, we’ll use the tag.” If that’s the case, Denver would have a few more months to lock down a long-term deal with Simmons. So it’s pretty much safe to say that he’ll be back in Broncos gear next season.

Do the Broncos want to keep him?

Yes. For a longer answer, see above.

Fantasy implications

Having Simmons back in Denver would only be one piece of the puzzle. In order for us to expect a similar style and fantasy production as last season, the Broncos will need to bring back a few other components, like Chris Harris Jr., Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe. If the offense also adds a few weapons, then the Broncos defense could be a viable season-long fantasy option, as they would presumably spend less time on the field.

Rumored interest

As mentioned above, the Broncos are expected to place the franchise tag on Justin Simmons if the two parties are unable to come to terms on a long-term deal.