ZMI ALPHA:NFL free agency 2021: Jets’ Marcus Maye signs franchise tag tender | Will long-term contract get done? And could he get paid like Broncos’ Justin Simmons?

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ZMI ALPHA:NFL free agency 2021: Jets’ Marcus Maye signs franchise tag tender | Will long-term contract get done? And could he get paid like Broncos’ Justin Simmons?

Now comes the hard part for the Jets and free safety Marcus Maye.

He has signed his franchise tag tender, according to NFL Network. So he’s locked in for 2021, at $10.612 million. Of course, that’ll all change if he signs a long-term contract.

The deadline to do that is July 15. Otherwise, he will play 2021 on a one-year contract for the tag figure — and won’t be able to negotiate a long-term deal again until after the season.

Maye is a foundational, young player, so the Jets need to keep him. Their defense doesn’t have many guys like him. Plus, he developed as a locker room leader last season.

Maye surely has his eyes on Broncos free safety Justin Simmons, who was franchise tagged for a second straight offseason. He is on the verge of getting a long-term deal. And it’ll reportedly be a four-year, $61 million contract that includes $35 million in guaranteed money.

That deal isn’t done yet. And it’s also not yet clear how much of that money would be fully guaranteed at signing. But you can bet Maye will now be looking for something close to the $15.25 million per year Simmons is getting, along with that sort of guaranteed pay.

Will he get it from the Jets? Or will general manager Joe Douglas try to pay him significantly less? (Remember, Douglas just gave wide receiver Corey Davis $27 million fully guaranteed at signing and edge rusher Carl Lawson $30 million fully guaranteed.)

Maye certainly has a legitimate argument that he deserves to get paid something close to Simmons. Maye last season ranked fourth in Pro Football Focus’ safety ratings, including third in coverage, while Simmons was seventh overall and seventh in coverage.

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Darryl Slater may be reached at dslater@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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