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Last year Broncos safety Justin Simmons played the season on the one-year franchise tag. This year he may do it again.

The Broncos are expected to put the franchise tag on Simmons again this season, according to multiple reports.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Simmons will play on the franchise tag, but it would mean he’d have the option of signing the one-year tender offer and playing for a guaranteed base salary of $13.729 million this season. Players who get the franchise tag two years in a row are guaranteed a 20 percent pay raise, and last year Simmons made $11.441 million.

Simmons and the Broncos would still have until July to negotiate a long-term deal, but the franchise tag provides a starting point.

If Simmons were to play out the 2021 season, he’d be virtually assured of hitting unrestricted free agency in 2022, as the franchise tag rules make it extraordinarily expensive to tag a player three years in a row, so expensive that no team would franchise a non-quarterback more than twice. So if Simmons doesn’t get an offer he likes from the Broncos, he can satisfy himself with making $25.17 million for the 2020-2021 seasons and then shopping himself to the highest bidder in 2022.