After waiting for more than a year, the Broncos have finally come to an agreement on a long-term extension with superstar safety, Justin Simmons.

The contract is a four-year deal that will pay Simmons $61 million ($15.25 million per year), with $35 million in guarantees, which makes Simmons the highest-paid safety in NFL history. He breaks a record set last off-season by Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker, who signed a four-year extension worth $59 million ($14.75 million per year).

Therein lies the cost of the Broncos dragging their feet before paying Simmons, his price tag likely went up due to the extension Baker signed last off-season. With that said, taking on an extra $500,000 (on average) against the cap for the next four years shouldn’t negatively impact the team’s flexibility too much. That’s especially true if the NFL’s newly-minted TV rights deals inflate the cap as much as they’re expected to over the coming seasons.

It would’ve been ideal to get this deal done a summer ago, but the fallout from waiting should be minimal.

Plus, making Simmons the highest-paid safety in NFL history is a no-brainer after how he’s produced in Fangio’s system.

Last season, he was one of the few defensive players that could create those turnovers that  Fangio’s defense thrives on. His five interceptions were tied for the fourth-most in the league and his interception against Justin Herbert and the Chargers, was a work of art.

He’s also the best all-around safety in the game, as his other elite peers have fairly large holes in their game. One might argue that Minkah Fitzpatrick is better in coverage — though even that claim is debatable — but Simmons is much better against the run and as a tackler. Another could argue Jamal Adams or Derwin James are more impactful around the line of scrimmage, but Simmons is much better deep.

He’s even incredibly well-rounded off the field. He’s been the team’s Walter Payton Man Of The Year each of the past two seasons and young players — like Will Parks — have consistently praised Simmons’ leadership for helping them find success.

“My four years here probably would’ve been different if he wasn’t here,” Parks said as we was overcome with emotion following 2019’s Week 17 game, when he was bound for free agency, and eventually the Philadelphia Eagles. “From teaching me more about Christianity. From making sure my family is good each and every day. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t say, ‘Hey Phil, how’s the family doing?’ Every guy needs that one person in the locker room that they always go to. I have two of those guys. I have Von [Miller] and I have [No.] 31.”

Paying Simmons was also important for George Paton to implement his culture of drafting, developing, and then re-signing talent. Paying Von Miller, Shelby Harris, and now Simmons builds the foundation of that culture.