The Denver Broncos, at long last, got star safety Justin Simmons locked up long term earlier this spring. Perhaps it took a fresh approach from a new general manager in Denver to get Simmons back in the fold for good but the sixth-year safety signed a four-year, $61 million extension in March.
Now the highest-paid safety in the league, Pro Football Focus believes Simmons' play is commensurate with that distinction. The NFL's leading analytics site recently numbered Simmons No. 1 among the top-32 safeties in the league.
1. JUSTIN SIMMONS, DENVER BRONCOS
Maintaining high-level play in the secondary over time is an extremely difficult task, yet Simmons has had back-to-back excellent years for the Broncos. Over the last two seasons, Simmons has the No. 1 overall PFF grade at the position and is the only safety who has put up a 90.0-plus grade over that time.
Even the most skeptical fan can see that Simmons' trajectory has been on the rise each year he's been in the league. But it really rocketed into the stratosphere with the arrival of Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell in 2019.
Simmons earned All-Pro honors in 2019 and was voted to his first Pro Bowl last year. After entering the league as Denver's third-round draft pick back in 2016, he's a homegrown player that budded into a star before Broncos Country's very eyes.
Each year he's been a Bronco, he's either tied or exceeded his personal best in interceptions. Last year was a career-high with five picks. With the help Simmons suddenly has in the secondary, it wouldn't be implausible to see him lead the league in interceptions.
The next step for Simmons? Team success.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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