Broncos star making a surprise return is still not off the table in 2024

Could the Broncos really bring Justin Simmons back?
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos cut Justin Simmons earlier this offseason in order to save $14 million in salary cap space. Could they still end up bringing him back at a reduced price in 2024?

As crazy as it sounds, it's not impossible.

A source has told Predominantly Orange that a Simmons return to Denver has not been ruled out by Simmons' camp, but that the All-Pro safety has also received interest from other NFL teams including the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now, let's break down why this may or may not make sense. First of all, the very first outside free agent the Broncos targeted in 2024 was former Dolphins safety Brandon Jones, who will factor into the starting lineup this coming season. The Broncos also brought back PJ Locke, who has been projected as the other starter at safety next to Jones.

The team is also hopeful that Caden Sterns can finally stay healthy and be a factor in the secondary. But even if Sterns can stay healthy, he's entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Sure, the Broncos could justify the youth movement at the safety position, but it's hard to justify not bringing back Justin Simmons with the roster as currently constructed, especially if he's willing. Simmons could return to a defense he's played in on a one-year deal, and possibly try and test free agency again next year.

The Broncos could still utilize PJ Locke as they have been, increasing his role as a box safety, dime defensive back, and nickel defensive back. Simmons and Jones could be the starting deep safeties and getting Simmons back in the fold would return some much-needed leadership and playmaking ability on that side of the ball.

Simmons obviously has made a home in Denver. He's a franchise legend at this point. He's extremely involved in the Denver community. He was recently spotted at a Denver Nuggets playoff game and it reignited Broncos Country's love for him:

Bringing Simmons back would change the complexion of this team in a variety of ways. His departure was one of the main reasons why fans of the Broncos have been considering this team to be "tearing it all down". But this is a team that won eight games a year ago. They finally beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time since early in the 2015 season. Simmons has been part of the team since 2016.

If he hasn't signed at this point, what's the hold up? The financial aspect is the only reasonable explanation. Otherwise, teams should have been lined up to sign him. He's got more interceptions than anyone else (30) since 2016. He's a game-changer. He's a team leader. He's an asset to the community.

The issue is, the value of his position decreased substantially due to supply and demand this offseason. If the Broncos can have reunions with guys like Shelby Harris (almost x2), Kareem Jackson (multiple times), and even Melvin Gordon, then a reunion with Justin Simmons should absolutely be on the table.