Justin Simmons will complete Arizona Cardinals safety tandem
Over the past couple of seasons, the Arizona Cardinals have employed one of the best safeties in the NFL. Budda Baker, a former second-round selection of the club, has been voted to two consecutive Pro Bowls. Next month, the Cards may have an opportunity to add another player at the position who received the exact same honor in 2020.
Justin Simmons, a Pro Bowl safety for the Denver Broncos last fall, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March. The 6’2, 202 pounder excelled last year after the Broncos slapped Simmons with the franchise tag in March of ’20. Denver’s management could do the same this offseason, but there’s a possibility that the defender will be available when the signing period begins in just over three weeks.
Pairing Simmons with the exceptional Baker would be a match made in heaven for the Cardinals defensive unit. The former third-round pick of the Broncos has established himself as one of the finest young defensive backs in the league, and the best could be yet to come.
During his rookie campaign in 2016, Simmons totaled 30 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed in 13 appearances (three starts) for the Denver defense. The former Boston College product took on a bigger role in 2017, starting 13 games in the “Mile High City”. Simmons was credited with 69 tackles, two picks and five pass breakups during his second professional campaign.
Simmons raised his play to an even higher level in 2018. Starting all 16 contests, the Virginia native registered 97 tackles, three interceptions and four passes defensed for the Broncos. Denver believed that they had a star in the making, and their assessment about Simmons was right on the money.
The safety turned in yet another outstanding performance in 2019. In 16 starts, Simmons recorded 93 tackles and picked off four passes as well. He also flashed sensational ball-hawking skills, swatting an impressive 15 passes away throughout the season.
Last fall, Simmons racked up 96 tackles, a career-high five picks and nine passes defensed in another 16 starts for the Broncos. His numbers since he turned pro have been nothing short of outstanding. Adding Simmons to the Arizona secondary is a move that could earn general manager Steve Keim significant praise for years to come.