The Denver Broncos have put together a very strong off-season ahead of next month’s training camp, but there is still one task that the front office needs to take care of in July. This week in our Broncos mailbag, fans across Broncos Country wanted to know what the latest news was surrounding Justin Simmons’ contract talks with the team. As the July 15th deadline nears closer, fans are getting anxious as to whether or not both sides can come to terms on a deal.
I will be answering Broncos fan’s questions every Thursday as well as bringing you analysis on the latest news and happenings around Dove Valley. If you would like to send in your questions for next week’s mailbag, you can email me at [email protected] or send it to us on Twitter: @BroncosPFN
What’s the latest news on the Broncos and Justin Simmons contract talks?
Back in April, Broncos general manager John Elway told us in his pre-draft press conference that the team had been engaged in active negotiations with Justin Simmons and his representation. As we all know, Simmons is seeking a long term contract agreement with the Broncos after a career year in head coach Vic Fangio’s defense.
Through the last month and a half, the Broncos and Simmons camp were talking and getting closer towards a deal, but a league source suggests that Denver may wind up with taking the wait and see approach which indicates a possibility of Simmons playing on the franchise tag in 2020.
While the Broncos and Simmons would like to get a contract deal completed, many NFL teams have growing concerns about the potential revenue impact they and the rest of the league could experience without fans in the stands due to Covid-19. If this is the case, the 2021 salary cap could be drastically reduced. This obviously impacts the Broncos approach towards getting a deal done with Simmons.
While there is no official word just yet on Justin Simmons’ contract, keep an eye on that July 15th deadline as it gets closer.
What would a good or bad season look like for you with Drew Lock?
I’ve always been on the boat of saying that the Broncos shouldn’t put too much pressure on Lock this upcoming season. Their off-season moves have suggested that as well. Surrounding the second year quarterback with a variety of receiving threats and a dynamic running back in Melvin Gordon should help alleviate the pressure that the media is putting on him.
A good season, in my opinion, would be where Lock throws for 3300 yards 25 touchdowns and 13 or fewer interceptions while leading Denver to victory. I don’t believe that Lock has to light it up for 350 yards every Sunday, I think that would be very unrealistic. If he can manage the game effectively, go through his reads and progressions, and make smart decisions, I believe that would define a good season for him.
In terms of Lock having a bad season, I believe if he turned the football over at a high rate and it was leading to the Broncos losing games, I would describe that as a bad season. Anything is possible at this point, but his five-game sample size doesn’t indicate that. He drastically improved his footwork and decision making through his five starts in 2019.
I’m not necessarily worried because Lock’s attitude is very indicative of how hard he is willing to work and the pressure that he puts on himself in general. Lock discussed his overall view on pressure and hype with us back in May.
“I think the pressure that I put on myself always outweighs the pressure that comes from media or even friends and family. I feel like the pressure that I hang on my head always means the most in the end to me.” With training camp starting at the end of July, it will be interesting watching how Lock performs with all of us media folks around the facility tweeting about every drop back and throw.
What is your prediction for the Broncos defensive line rotation this season?
To be honest with you, I’m very excited about the Broncos rotation on the defensive line. Coach Bill Kollar has a strong understanding as to which guys can play and which guys can’t. He demands the best from his players and he gets exactly that from them.
I believe that Shelby Harris and Dre’Mont Jones will start at defensive end this year for the Broncos. The reason I say that is because I anticipate Denver moving off-season addition Jurrell Casey to the inside at defensive tackle. Casey has played the 1-tech and the 2i effectively in Tennessee and gives the Broncos the best interior pass rush threat possible.
Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will maintain the edge while Jones and Harris will provide a combination of speed and bulk at the 3-tech and 5-tech. Expect to see Mike Purcell, Christian Covington, Demarcus Walker, and McTelvin Agim play significant roles as rotational players.
If you could choose between having a dominant defense or a high scoring offense which would you choose?
Those who know me best or have followed me for a long time know this answer. I’m a defensive guy through and through, and I love 7-3 football games. I was a defensive back in my playing days and had the opportunity to play for a very talented defense. I’ve also played on a team that had a high scoring offense.
The issue with a high scoring offense is that you usually encounter having a defense that doesn’t consistently stop anybody. When you play on a very good defense, it usually means the offense is well-balanced or they don’t put up many points. I think the Broncos 2015 defense is the perfect example of what I would choose.
There were moments that season where we saw the defense score a touchdown that helped them win the game. It’s those little things about coverages, disguised blitz packages, and getting stops on third down that gets me going.
You know what they say, the best offense is a great defense. For the Broncos, if they want to have a dominant defense once again, they need to sign Justin Simmons to a long-term contract.