Sean Payton comments on Broncos releasing Justin Simmons

Speaking at the NFL’s annual meetings in Orlando on Monday, Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton had very little to say about the team’s decision to cut quarterback Russell Wilson.

“We felt it was in the best interests of our team,” Payton said of Wilson’s release. The coach had more to say about former safety Justin Simmons.

“There was a lot that went into that,” Payton said when asked about the release of Simmons, via KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis. Payton explained that it was a financial decision — after eating $53 million in “dead money” from the Wilson release, the team needed to save $14.5 million by cutting Simmons.

It wasn’t an easy decision.

“[I]t’s difficult especially for someone like Justin who’s really been a first-class player for the organization, someone who I know is respected highly in our league, certainly by us as coaches,” Payton said. “That was difficult. That’s the hard part of this job sometimes. It wasn’t any fun.”

After parting ways with Simmons, Denver replaced him by signing safety Brandon Jones. The Broncos now have seven safeties on the roster and their combined salary cap hits in 2024 will be less than what the team saved with Simmons’ release.

Simmons will be remembered as one of the best safeties in franchise history, but Denver had to make a business decision to stay under the salary cap.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire