Why didn’t the Broncos trade Justin Simmons?

Denver Broncos fans were shocked by the news of star safety Justin Simmons’ release on Thursday. It was well known that Denver needed to create more salary cap space, but Simmons was a team captain and the longest-tenured Bronco. Few pundits expected the safety to be cut.

A possible reduced salary? Sure. Even a trade? Sure. (Broncos Wire even wrote about the possibility of trading Simmons.) But releasing him for nothing? Who could have seen that coming?

So, why didn’t Denver trade Simmons?

There are likely two explanations, the first being Simmons’ contract situation. He’s set to turn 31 this season before becoming a free agent next spring. Why would another team trade a draft pick for a one-year rental, especially when they have to take on his full $14.5 million salary?

The second reason is a flooded market. Simmons is not the only big-name safety to get cut for cap reasons this week. Jordan Poyer, Jamal Adams, Kevin Byard, Quandre Diggs, Rayshawn Jenkins and Eddie Jackson were also let go by their respective teams, and several notable safeties are set to become free agents next week as well.

Consequently, there was likely no trade market for Simmons. He’s a talented safety, but no team would be willing to give up a draft pick for a 30-year-old safety that costs $14.5 million when there are dozens of talented, younger, cheaper safeties available.

Now that he’s a free agent, Simmons should draw interest from teams that don’t have to give up a draft pick to acquire him. But trading the safety was probably never a realistic option for the Broncos.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire