NFL insider links Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons to NFC Super Bowl contender

Denver Broncos Justin Simmons

It’s a pretty big surprise that two-time All-Pro safety Justin Simmons remains a free agent. NFL training camps are getting going in less than a month, and veteran remains on the open market after his release from the Denver Broncos this past spring.

Simmons, 30, was a third-round pick of the Broncos out of Boston College back in 2016. He’s since morphed into one of the best safeties in the NFl.

The talented defensive back is coming off his second Pro Bowl season, recording eight passes defended and three interceptions. That came on the heels of Simmons recording an NFL-high six interceptions in 2022. Simmons has not yielded a QB rating of over 89 when targeted in each of the past three seasons.

One of the issues here is Simmons’ asking price. He still wants to be among the highest-paid safeties in the NFL. Very few teams have the cap room this late in the offseason to add a contract of that ilk. But one contending squad is being linked to Simmons.

Related: San Francisco 49ers standing in Sportsnaut’s offseason NFL power rankings

Justin Simmons
Credit: Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“I love the idea of Justin Simmons in either the Vic Fangio–style of defense he’s played in for the Broncos since 2019, or in a Seattle Seahawks–type of defense,” Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated noted. “That’s why I’d really love to see him as the center fielder in the Niners’ defense—which has historically played the Seattle three scheme, and also just brought aboard Brandon Staley (whom Simmons knows well) from the Fangio tree.”

Depite winning the NFC this past season, San Francisco fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. The team replaced him internally with Nick Sorensen while bringing on former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as a top assistant. Obviously, the 49ers’ defense fits in with what Simmons does well.

As for a potential need, All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga tore his ACL 10 games into last season. The 49ers are also high on sophomore safety Ji’Ayir Brown after he showed flashes as a rookie.

  • Justin Simmons stats: 604 tackles, 64 passes defended, 30 interceptions

Obviously, adding Simmons to the mix would increase the 49ers’ Super Bowl odds. They have a projected $30 million in cap room. So, adding Simmons wouldn’t be a big deal from that perspective.

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