Could free agent Justin Simmons return to the Denver Broncos?

Is free agent safety Justin Simmons returning to Denver within realm of possibility?
Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos
Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Weeks into the NFL's new league year, former Broncos safety Justin Simmons has yet to sign a new contract with a team in free agency as his market unexpectedly became dry. Since then, fans have begun to ponder the potential possibility of re-signing the longtime Broncos defensive back to a team-friendly one-year deal. However, signs do not appear to be pointing in that direction.

Despite having multiple incredible seasons as Denver's premiere safety, the Broncos front office had to make the tough decision to move on from the All-Pro due to the team's salary cap situation. The organization was coming fresh off the release of quarterback Russell Wilson and was in a really poor financial situation regarding cap space. Not to mention, Simmons was scheduled for an $18.25M cap hit entering his ninth season in the league at 30 years old.

Rather than attempting to extend his contract and save immediate cap room, general manager George Patona and head coach Sean Payton felt it was more logical to rip the band-aid off quickly and look for a younger and cheaper option through the free agent market. This then led to the signing of safety Brandon Jones who agreed to terms on a respectable three-year, $20M contract. With the addition of Jones, Denver's new safety room now includes P.J. Locke, Caden Sterns, JL Skinner, Delarrin Turner-Yell, and of course Brandon Jones.

Despite downgrading from Simmons to Jones, the bright side is that Denver now rosters a much cheaper and younger unit with more upside than before. Assuming that unit is able to remain healthy, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph could be coaching one of the more talented, young safety rooms in the AFC. With that in mind, why would the Broncos decide to re-sign Justin Simmons?

Of course, his talent is undeniable, even at 30 years old. However, the team has already issued a statement wishing him well upon his departure and vice versa:

This pretty much leaves you with all the clarity that is needed to ensure he will be playing elsewhere in 2024 moving forward. The Broncos have made it pretty clear they do not want to invest much cap room into that position and they showed that again by giving starters P.J. Locke and Brandon Jones relatively cheap deals.


Simmons has already passed the torch to former teammate P.J. Locke and is well aware that Denver is looking to move in a different direction with their starting lineup. Simmons will thrive and flourish in whichever opportunity presents itself in the coming weeks.

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