Justin Simmons, safety (2020 age: 26)
Status: Unrestricted free agent
We’ll start off with an easy one here.
Justin Simmons was easily John Elway’s best draft pick from 2013-2017.
With all due respect to the impact other players in those years made to the Broncos, no player has become a star at their position quite like Justin Simmons.
Simmons blossomed under Vic Fangio this season, and as a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, he’s proven to be much better than even his top 100 draft status.
The Broncos have made public their desire to keep Simmons, and Simmons has made public his desire to be with the Broncos.
The going rate for top safeties these days is north of $12-13 million. Simmons could easily average $13-14 million on a long-term deal with guys like Kevin Byard signing for five years, $70.5 million and Tyrann Mathieu signing for three years, $42 million.
If the going rate is $14 million, then so be it.
Simmons is an essential piece of this team moving forward. The Broncos must pay up.