Justin Simmons is having a terrific year when he needed to most.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons was hit with the team’s franchise tag this offseason before signing a one-year, $14 million tender. In response, he has had a fantastic 2020 season and made another game-winning play on Sunday.
Following a critical fumble by Melvin Gordon, the Broncos were clinging to a 20-13 lead with the Miami Dolphins looking to score a game-tying touchdown with Ryan Fitzpatrick in at quarterback.
Fitzpatrick took the Dolphins on a 13-play drive that started at their own 1-yard line. It seemed that the Dolphins were definitely going to score and probably force overtime.
Simmons had other ideas.
With the Dolphins facing 3rd-and-8 from the Denver 15-yard line, Fitzpatrick tried to fit the ball into the end zone to Devante Parker. Simmons stepped in front of him to pick it off and seal the victory.
This isn’t the first time that Simmons has done this in his career. It was also his fourth interception of the season. Still just 27 years old, you can make a case that Simmons might be the best safety in football and he is without a doubt in that conversation.
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As a result, John Elway can’t dance around it this offseason. He needs to shell out the cash for Simmons to make sure he stays in Denver, signing him to a lucrative, long-term deal. If not, another team will be glad to do so.
The Broncos have a rich tradition at the safety position with the likes of Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith having played for the team. Simmons could absolutely be mentioned with those guys by the time his career is over, he is that good.
The Broncos deserved the win on Sunday as they outplayed the surging Dolphins. But just when things were starting to go sideways, as they often do for this team, Simmons was there to save the day.
It won’t be the last time he does it, either.
So Elway, please make sure this guy doesn’t get away. He is among the best safeties in the NFL and one of the best players on the team. He needs to remain in orange and blue for the long term.