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“Some Action Is Likely” On Star Safety’s Contract (Report)

According to one report, the Denver Broncos are likely to do some work to the contract of star safety Justin Simmons
Justin Simmons Contract

The start of the 2023 league year is right around the corner, and the Denver Broncos could make some changes to the contract of Justin Simmons to become cap-compliant. Right now, the team is $25.9 million over the salary cap, and releasing Russell Wilson won’t help that number. This team is going to have to make some hard decisions about some key players on the roster, and Simmons is near the top of the list.

Justin Simmons is currently entering the final year of his contract and, even though he made the Pro Bowl last year, he isn’t playing like a top-five safety. He’s still good, but his 67.9 PFF grade made him the 40th-best safety in the league out of 95 eligible players.

As of this posting, Justin Simmons and his contract carry an $18.25 million contract. According to OverTheCap, the Broncos could create $10.63 million in cap space by extending him, or $14.5 million with a trade or release. According to Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post, both options are currently being explored, although an extension is reportedly far more likely than a trade.

“Some Action Is Likely” On Justin Simmons Contract (Report)

Even though the Denver Broncos missed the playoffs last year and will carry an absurd amount of dead money in 2024, it’s hard to envision the team embracing a rebuild. Head coach Sean Payton wants to win now, and he believes that he’s the type of coach who can get the most out of a quarterback who can play within his system. If the team lands somebody like Bo Nix or J.J. McCarthy in the 2024 NFL Draft, then Payton will probably believe he has a contender. With this in mind, the Broncos probably won’t want to trade Justin Simmons, even if does get rid of his unfriendly contract.

However, from a financial standpoint, getting rid of Justin Simmons and his contract might be the only course of action for this team. The two-time Pro Bowler is entering his age-31 season and, while the Pro Bowl votes keep coming in, he’s not the same player from 2019 and 2020.

Can the Denver Broncos afford to keep a good-but-not-great Justin Simmons on a high-paying contract? Perhaps, but they’ll need to work some magic to keep Simmons, sign a bridge quarterback like Jacoby Brissett, address the other needs on the roster, and still get under the 2024 salary cap. Whether they like it or not, there is a decent chance that their hand will be forced and they’ll have no choice but to trade Simmons to whoever will take him.

Possible Trade Destinations

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have the luxury to do just about whatever they want in free agency. Armed with over $70 million in cap space, this team has the financial liberty to take on Justin Simmons and his contract, and they can probably give him an extension too. With Caleb Williams likely taking over for Justin Fields, they have a whole new rookie window to take advantage of. This trade also works because the Broncos need a quarterback  – perhaps Simmons could be part of the package sent to Chicago to acquire Fields.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers didn’t even need a full season to rebuild from the Aaron Rodgers Era. Jordan Love looks like a franchise quarterback, and the defense should improve with Joe Barry gone. While the future is bright, this team could use a few veterans to help guide this incredibly young core of players. Justin Simmons is the perfect fit for the job, and while the Packers might have to clear some cap space to fit his contract, they can gain an additional $20 million in spending money by releasing the oft-injured David Bakhtiari.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are a quarterback away from being a playoff contender. The team found a way to go 7-10 last year despite a terrible quarterback situation and a head coach who refused to utilize his best players. If the Falcons can land someone like Kirk Cousins, then this team could be a legitimate threat next year. Justin Simmons could help solidify the back half of this defense, and the Falcons have the cap space to easily absorb his contract, especially if they extend him.

Los Angeles Chargers

Right now, the Los Angeles Chargers do not have the financial liberty to take on Justin Simmons or his contract. However, the team could easily get below the salary cap by releasing some expensive veterans. If that happens, then head coach Jim Harbaugh could go after a key playmaker from a division rival while also adding some much-needed talent to one of 2023’s least reliable units.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints will continue to kick the can down the line for as long as Mickey Loomis has a job. We all know that it’s only a matter of time before they somehow find a way to erase their $81.9 million salary cap depth and continue to push off a rebuild. Justin Simmons’ cap hit will go down astronomically if they extend his contract, and while that might hurt down the road, the Saints have never cared too much about that in the first place.

Main Photo: Gary A. Vasquez – USA Today Sports


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