Broncos unlikely to bring back two-time Pro Bowl safety

broncos unlikely to bring back two-time pro bowl safety

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

A number of veteran safeties were let go in the lead-in to free agency, and many remain unsigned well after the draft. That includes Justin Simmons, who saw his eight-year Broncos tenure come to an end in March.

Denver’s decision to cut bait created $14.5M in cap savings for 2024, the final year of Simmons’ deal. The 30-year-old’s future with the team was in question before his release, given the nature of his contract. Rather than pursuing an extension to lower his cap hit, though, the Broncos made Simmons one of the most high-profile players to be let go this offseason.

The two-time Pro Bowler has not been connected to any new teams during his ongoing free agent spell. It would come as a surprise if he were to reunite with the Broncos, however. Parker Gabriel of the Denver Post writes that it appears “very unlikely” a new deal keeping Simmons in the Mile High City will be worked out. As Gabriel notes, the Broncos have not acted in a way which suggests they are open to exploring a way to renew this relationship.

Not long after Simmons was let go, fellow safety P.J. Locke was retained on a two-year deal. The latter took on starting duties when Kareem Jackson missed time through suspension in 2023, and his play earned him a new investment from the team. Denver also has Caden Sterns as well as Delarrin Turner-Yell and JL Skinner in place as returnees on the backend.

In free agency, the Broncos moved quickly in adding Brandon Jones. The former Dolphin secured $20M on a three-year pact, and he will be counted on to replace Simmons’ production moving forward. Jones, 26, has amassed three interceptions and nine pass deflections in his four-year career. Those figures fall well short of what Simmons has accomplished (30 interceptions, 64 pass breakups), but Jones will have significant opportunities to make an impact on his new team.

Denver did not select a safety during the draft, leaving Jones and Locke as starters for the 2024 campaign. While a Simmons reunion cannot be entirely ruled out until his next contract is in place, signs point toward him playing on a new team for the first time in his career in 2024. He could represent the first of many safety dominoes in the waning stages of free agency around the league.

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