Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot at NFL Combine - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

New Potential Safety Target Emerges for Falcons in Free Agency

The Atlanta Falcons made their biggest splash in 2023 free agency at safety. With the amount of safeties set to be available this year, though, another splash signing at the position could be on the table for Atlanta. That includes perhaps even a 4-time second-team All-Pro in Justin Simmons.

The Denver Broncos released Simmons on Thursday to save $14.5 million in cap space. He’s now available to negotiation with and join any new team in NFL free agency.

Although 30 years old, Simmons is an attractive option, as he has made second-team All-Pro each of the past three seasons. He also made his second career Pro Bowl in 2023.

Last season, he recorded 70 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss. He also had 8 pass defenses, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.

His release had All Falcons’ Scott Kennedy speculating that Simmons could come to Atlanta.

“Do I think the Atlanta Falcons should check in on recently released safety Justin Simmons? Yes … Yes I do.”

Spotrac projected the former Broncos safety to be worth $22.2 million on a 2-year contract this offseason. However, Kennedy, who also hosts Broncos for Breakfast and the Falcons podcast, argued that he could see his actual value on a per season basis around half that amount.

“I think he’ll come down to around $5-7 million per season, and the Falcons can save more than $3 million by cutting Richie Grant,” Kennedy said. “He’d be a perfect partner with Jessie Bates.”

Last offseason, the Falcons signed Bates to a 4-year, $64 million contract. Atlanta likely doesn’t want another huge contract tied up to the safety position.

However, $5-7 million per season is definitely doable, and Simmons would be a significant upgrade.

The Falcons possess about $41.4 million in cap space this offseason according to Spotrac. Atlanta already has a lot of depth at safety, but Bates and Grant are the only safeties the Falcons have under contract for more than $1 million.

In his eight-year career, Simmons has averaged 75 combined tackles per season. He’s also posted 64 pass defenses and 30 interceptions in 118 games.

Since entering the league in 2016, no defender has more interceptions than Simmons.