Just days after signing his first NFL contract Saturday, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons has had some time to reflect on what the moment meant to him.
As previously reported, his deal spans four years and is worth $20.66 million, including a $12.588 million signing bonus. His cap charge in 2020 is $3,757,101.
"Signing the other day, it was actually really, really cool," Simmons told reporters Wednesday. "Regardless of all the stipulations with the owner (Michael Bidwill) not being able to be present, it was still a really, really cool deal. We did it virtually and it's just something that I've always dreamt of doing. Being able to literally have my dreams become reality was really just such a blessing for me and that's a day that I will always remember no matter what, signing my first NFL contract."
While Bidwill was unable to attend in-person, the two met over Zoom to discuss particulars, which can be viewed in the below video (courtesy of AZCardinals.com).
"It’s nice to finally get a chance to see you and talk to you even though it’s virtually," Bidwill told Simmons. "I wish it was in person. Thank you for all your patience. This has been, obviously, an odd year with COVID(-19) and everything else going on. We finally got to a point to where we can sign the contract today, so it’s an exciting day ... What I wanted to tell you is it’s a big day. When you think about your journey, you obviously played a lot of college football; you got invited to the (NFL Scouting) Combine, that’s a big deal; you got the Butkus Award (given to the nation's top linebacker), that’s a big deal; you were drafted No. 8 overall, that’s a big deal. Well, today is another big deal, another milestone."
During the course of their conversation Bidwill asked Simmons if the NFL had been a thought of his for a while, to which he recounted a letter he wrote during his childhood.
“Believe it or not, my mom and dad — they have this framed in the house, actually, it’s a letter from fifth grade," Simmons said. "It’s like, ‘One day I will be in the NFL. I’ll have a mansion. I’ll have a Ferrari.’ Half of the words aren’t even spelled right, but it’s literally always been my dream. My fifth-grade teacher, she actually sent it to my family some years back and they went and got it framed. I’ve always been dreaming about this.”
Upon Simmons and Bidwill parsing the contract details together via videoconference, the Cardinals' chairman and president gifted the franchise's first-round draft pick a signing gift: a special pen fit for the occasion.
“It’s got a good weight to it,” Simmons said before signing the four-year deal.
“Congratulations," Bidwill followed up. "You’re going to be great in our league and we’ve talked about you and we’re so excited you’re a Cardinal. There’s so many different milestones in your NFL journey; this is a big one. And I just figured it would be great to spend a little time with you. Sorry I couldn’t be there in person, but you know all of the protocols. Congratulations on getting through all of the testing and everything’s good, ready to roll."