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Broncos franchise tagging Justin Simmons

The Broncos are using their franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons.

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons gestures in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos will be holding onto Justin Simmons for the 2020 season. They administered a franchise tag on the 26-year-old safety Friday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He’s expected to gross around $12.7 million this year while Denver figures out a long-term solution for him.

Simmons ranked second on the team in tackles (93) in 2019 and tallied a career-high four interceptions. He also ranked top 10 in passes defended (15) and was a big part of why the Broncos gave up the ninth-fewest passing yards in the NFL. This was good enough to earn him his first second-team All-Pro selection.

Denver is making a commitment to youth in its secondary, also acquiring cornerback A.J. Bouye via trade. That could mean that veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is less likely to return in 2020 after spending nine seasons with the team. Simmons wants a long-term deal soon, so tying up money with Harris isn’t ideal.