Denver Broncos, safety Justin Simmons reach four-year, $61 million deal, sources say

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Justin Simmons wanted to stay with the Denver Broncos, and the team made him the highest-paid safety in the league to make that happen.

The Broncos announced they signed Simmons to a four-year contract on Friday, with multiple sources valuing the deal at $61 million, including about $35 million in guarantees. Simmons' $15.25 million-per-year average makes it the highest per-year average salary of any safety in the NFL.

Simmons, who had played every defensive snap for the team over the past three seasons, is also the first NFL safety to agree to a deal worth more than $15 million per season. The Cardinals signed Budda Baker to a four-year deal last September worth $14.75 million per year.

Simmons' wife, Taryn, took to Twitter on Friday morning to announce "We're here to stay Denver! We have some big dreams for this city that we now call home. We want to win football games of course but more importantly, we want to help change lives. We love you #BroncosCountry"

Broncos general manager George Paton had hinted Thursday that things were moving toward a long-term deal for Simmons, who was selected in the third round (98th overall) in the 2016 draft. A day later, it was official.

"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," Paton said in a statement. "We look forward to him helping us win and making a positive impact on the Broncos for a long time."

The Broncos had placed the franchise player tag on Simmons in recent weeks, but at the time called it a "procedural move" as the two sides worked toward a long-term contract.

Simmons had said throughout the 2020 season, when he had played on the franchise tag, that he was confident in "betting on myself," that he hoped to stay with the Broncos and that he believed a deal would get done when both sides "really sat down to make that happen ... but it takes both sides."

He finished last season 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 combines off-field community engagement with his stalwart on-field performance and was the Broncos' nominee this past season for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

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 is the complete package as both an elite player for the Broncos and a leader in our community," Paton said.

Simmons is a three-time winner of the Darrent Williams Good Guy award, given out by the Denver chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America each season since 2006 to a Broncos player to recognize professionalism and depth in interactions with the media.