Broncos release safety Justin Simmons after eight seasons

Cutting Simmons is a money-saving move for the cap-strapped Broncos, who must navigate a massive dead-money figure from the eventual Russell Wilson release. Simmons was due to count $18.25 million against the salary cap. Releasing the veteran saves Denver $14.5 million on the cap with $3.75 million in dead money.

Simmons is coming off a down season by his standards, which included some uncharacteristic missed plays, but remains one of the top safeties in the NFL. A ballhawk, he should have no trouble finding a new home — Philadelphia immediately leaps to mind based on need and the presence of Simmons’ former coach Vic Fangio taking over as DC.

However, with a flood of veterans hitting the market, they could all eat into each other’s earning potential. Simmons joins Jamal Adams, Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson, Rayshawn Jenkins and Jordan Poyer among recently released veteran safeties.

For Denver, releasing a cornerstone of its secondary underscores the plan to strip things down in Year 2 under Sean Payton. Managing the dead money on Wilson’s contract will require the Broncos to lean on young, cheaper players, counting on the coaching staff to milk the most out of the talent to compete in the AFC West.

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