The deal is finally done.
It took the Broncos two years and two franchise tags, but Denver and safety Justin Simmons have reached a long-term deal that makes him the highest paid safety in NFL history, a source confirmed to The Gazette.
The deal is for four years, $61 million with $35 million guaranteed.
At approximately $15.25 million per year, Simmons surpasses Arizona's Budda Baker at $14.75 million annually for highest-paid safety.
Breaking:Per source: #Broncos are getting close to re-signing safety Justin Simmons, not done yet but will be. 4-year, $61 million dollar deal with $35 million in guarantees.Long time coming for All-Pro/Pro Bowler.@KOAColorado @jsimms1119 (Broncos aren't done, either) pic.twitter.com/aQJ07fXEkd— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 19, 2021
"I'm beyond excited to be a Bronco," Simmons said on Instagram Friday. "Broncos Country, thank you for having my back and helping me grow these past five years. Can't wait to see what these next four years bring, and that's winning."
This news comes 12 hours after General Manager George Paton addressed the negotiations, only a couple weeks after he franchise-tagged Simmons to allow more time for a deal to happen. Paton said Thursday "we're making progress" only for the deal to be done the next morning.
"We're thrilled to reach a long-term agreement with Justin Simmons," Paton said in a statement Friday. "He is the complete package as both an elite player for the Broncos and a leader in our community. As a free safety, Justin has every tool you need to be the best. He is a smart, instinctive playmaker who can cover a lot of ground with his athletic ability.
"Justin's a great fit for our defense, and with the speed of today's game — especially in our division — he is exactly what you need in a safety. We look forward to him helping us win and making a positive impact on the Broncos for a long time."
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The deal is something Simmons and the Broncos have wanted for some time, as he's become one of the best safeties in the NFL the past two seasons. In 2019, he was named a first-team All-Pro with 93 tackles, 15 pass breakups and four interceptions. In 2020, he made his first Pro Bowl with 96 tackles, nine pass breakups and five interceptions.
Off the field, Simmons has become not only one of the biggest leaders in the Broncos organization, but also in the Denver community. He's been a large part of the Broncos' social justice initiative, Inspire Change, and has been nominated for the franchise's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020. He is also a three-time recipient of the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award voted on by the local media.
Simmons has said in the past that he didn't want to just stay in Denver to play, but to continue his work off the field.
"To the Denver community, in general, the work must not stop," Simmons wrote in his post Friday. "We all have a platform to help create positive impacts in our communities. Let us all make the world a better place and let's start in our own backyards. I promise I will continue to be here."