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Denver Broncos to release Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons

Safety Justin Simmons (C) was a fixture of the Denver Broncos secondary over the last eight seasons. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

March 7 (UPI) -- The Denver Broncos will release Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons after eight seasons, the team announced Thursday.

Simmons, 30, joined the Broncos as a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He appeared in 118 games during his tenure with the AFC West franchise.

"Justin Simmons' impact as a Denver Bronco extends far beyond his exceptional play during eight seasons with our organization," the Broncos said in a statement.

"In addition to growing into an All-Pro and team captain, Justin became our perennial Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year devoted to uplifting others and using his influence for positive change.

"Whether it was in Denver or his hometown of Stuart, Fla., Justin inspired and mentored countless youth while providing unwavering support to the community. The hundreds of hours he spent at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club will be as much a part of Justin's legacy with the Broncos as his leadership, dependability and many interceptions."

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (R) was a 2020 and 2023 Pro Bowl selection. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (R) was a 2020 and 2023 Pro Bowl selection. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI

Simmons totaled 70 combined tackles, with 53 solo takedowns, eight passes defensed, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack in 15 starts last season. He logged a career-high and league-best six interceptions in 2022. Simmons eclipsed 90 combined tackles in each season from 2018 through 2020.

The Broncos signed Simmons to a four-year, $61 million contract in 2021. His release will clear $14.5 million off their salary cap.

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI