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Ex-Steelers OL Wary About a Potential Justin Simmons Signing



Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Target Denver Broncos Safety Justin Simmons

Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick struggled at times last season without having a trustworthy player at the strong safety position. Fitzpatrick had a solid rapport with Terrell Edmunds for several seasons before Edmunds left in free agency last year.

To get Fitzpatrick back to an All-Pro level, should the Steelers kick the tires on former Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons?

Former Steelers guard Ramon Foster thinks the Steelers should be careful about that notion.

“Justin Simmons is a name you know and a name you think you can trust, but here’s the thing about Justin Simmons, he’s about to be 30, or he’s already in his 30s as far as his career’s concerned, right? So, there’s that side to it, and I know we got good stuff out of Pat Peterson, but you’re also in a position where — are you a Justin Simmons away from winning a Super Bowl to justify that signing?” Foster said on the Ramon Foster Show, via Now, if you’re trying to compete and be a team that stays above the water, then, yeah, you sign Justin Simmons, but that also goes into his pay. How long do you want a guy like Simmons? One or two years, or three? You’re probably only gonna get him for two, max.”

Simmons is a two-time Pro Bowler and has been named second-time All-Pro four times. He was the NFL interceptions co-leader (6) with Fitzpatrick in 2022.

The Broncos released Simmons on March 7 in a cap-saving move, thanks to the Russell Wilson debacle. At 30 years old, Simmons still has probably 3-4 more good years left in him. He’s also not far removed from recording five to six interceptions in a season.

Simmons was set to earn $14.5 million in 2024, the final year of the four-year, $61 million deal he signed in 2021. So, he’ll most likely come at a high figure. General manager Omar Khan might not want to dish out $8-10 million per year for a safety when they just signed DeShon Elliott to a two-year, $6 million deal. The Steelers already have the most expensive defensive in the NFL at $149.4 million, also.

Along with Simmons, Eddie Jackson, Quandre Diggs, Micah Hyde, Marcus Maye, Jamal Adams, Tashaun Gipson, and the aforementioned Edmunds are safeties still available on the free agent market.

The 2024 NFL Draft class is not top-heavy at the safety position. According to the NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board, no safeties are expected to be taken in the first round, and only two — Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin at No. 42 and Miami’s Kam Kinchens at No. 49 — are projected in the top 50 picks.