ESPN Lists Broncos Star as ‘Surprise’ 2024 Trade Rumor Candidate

Justin Simmons

Getty Broncos safety Justin Simmons fields questions during a 2022 press conference.

Trade rumors involving the Denver Broncos have seemingly disappeared since the October 31 deadline. Looking ahead to the 2024 offseason is a much different story for Denver.

With the Broncos sitting at 3-5 entering their Week 9 bye, planning for next season is inevitable. Top talent will likely be moved to free up cap space and cement the team’s image under head coach Sean Payton. No player should be considered safe, not even an All-Pro talent.

Safety Justin Simmons could become too costly for Denver to retain in 2024. Dan Graziano of ESPN listed Simmons as a “surprise” trade candidate for the Broncos during the offseason.

“While the Broncos didn’t unload any of their big contracts at the trade deadline,” Graziano wrote in his November 3 column. “There’s certainly a chance they look to do it in the offseason. Simmons turns 30 this month and is scheduled to earn $14.5 million (non-guaranteed) next season in the final year of his contract.”

Simmons turns 30 on November 19. It would be realistic for the Broncos to replace the All-Pro safety with a younger option. Graziano notes Denver would save $14.5 million if they cut or trade Simmons after the season.

Denver will have a tough decision regarding the former third-round pick. The Boston College product has amassed 564 tackles and 29 interceptions through his eight seasons with the Broncos.

Tough Financial Decisions Ahead for Broncos in 2024

Figuring out whether or not to trade Simmons is hardly the only question Denver must answer this offseason. Graziano mentioned the Broncos have several tough financial decisions to sort through in 2024.

“The Broncos currently project to be over the cap and are saddled with a massive hit from the Russell Wilson deal. But Simmons’ contract — along with those of guys like Garett Bolles and Courtland Sutton — are among the most vulnerable,” Graziano wrote.

Wilson’s fate is perhaps the most significant decision Denver has to make. Per Over the Cap, cutting Wilson before June 1 would create $85,000,000 in dead cap space. Cutting him after June 1 would create a hit of $49,600,000.

The Broncos could get out of his contract with limited financial consequences ahead of the 2025 season. Either way, Denver will be financially handcuffed while Payton remodels the roster.

Wilson’s contract has undeniably put the team in a tough spot as they seek a return to their winning ways.

Simmons Details Week 8 Upset Win: ‘Statement Game for Us’

Simmons won AFC Defensive Player of the Week following Denver’s 24-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The safety discussed the “statement game” with NFL Network analysts Steve Wyche and James Palmer.

“I think that Kansas City game was a kind of a statement game for us,” Simmons said on the November 2 episode of “The NFL Report.” “I think defensively we know that to start the season, it wasn’t anywhere near where we’re used to playing and used to looking like.”

Through six games, Simmons has snagged two interceptions, both off reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes. The All-Pro has intercepted Mahomes five times in his career. Simmons was asked if the turnovers were because of Denver’s scheme or due to facing Mahomes twice a year.

“Playing him twice a year definitely gives me a one-up on most of anybody else. But also on top of that, if you go back and you watch all five interceptions or however many there are, more times than not we just get really great pressure,” said Simmons.

Simmons complimented Mahomes as a “tremendous talent” who will “not try to make a play.”

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