The contract sets a new bar for contracts for safeties in both guaranteed money and average annual value ($15.25 million), topping Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker‘s deal signed last year that averages $14.75 million and included $33.1 million guaranteed.
The Broncos placed the franchise tag on Simmons, for the second consecutive year, before the March 9 deadline. He would have made approximately $13.73 million if he played the 2021 season on the franchise tender.
Simmons, the Denver Broncos’ third-round pick (98th overall) in the 2016 draft, played on the franchise player tag in 2020, worth $11.4 million, when his representatives and the team couldn’t come to an agreement and he finished with 96 tackles and five interceptions. It was his third consecutive 90-tackle season. He has consistently been an active player in run defense along the line of scrimmage with the versatility to match up on a variety of players in coverage.
The 27-year-old has the combination of on-field performance and off-field community engagement, given he has played every defensive snap for each of the last three seasons and was named the Broncos’ nominee this past season for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
When new general manager George Paton was hired in January, Broncos president of football operations John Elway said trying to re-sign Simmons was “one of the biggest things” Paton had on his to-do list.
Simmons has consistently been one of the most active players in the community and one of the team’s leading voices in social justice initiatives.
He has won the Darrent Williams Good Guy award, given out by the Denver chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America each season to the Broncos player to recognize professionalism and depth in interactions with the media. Simmons is the only three-time winner of the award since it began in 2006.
After the Broncos’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in the regular-season finale, Simmons lingered on the field for several moments after his teammates and coaches had gone to the locker room. He said later he just “wanted to take it all in” because he didn’t know what the future would be.
ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.