With the Denver Broncos expected to cut ties with quarterback Russell Wilson and take on a massive $35.4 million dead cap charge in 2024, more changes to the roster were bound to come. Another came Thursday as the Broncos released veteran safety Justin Simmons, which the team announced Thursday.

"Justin Simmons' impact as a Denver Bronco extends far beyond his exceptional play during eight seasons with our organization," the Broncos said in a statement. "Justin will always be a Bronco, and we thank him for the outstanding manner in which he represented our organization on and off the field. We wish Justin, his wife Taryn, and their children Laney, Shae and Kyler the very best in the future."  

A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2023, Simmons was set to count for $18.25 million against the cap, but will instead now carry just a $3.75 million dead cap hit, and the Broncos will save $14.5 million on their books. They will still need to do a whole bunch of maneuvering to get cap compliant after making the Wilson move, and this is likely just the start of the process.

Simmons finished last season with 70 tackles, three interceptions, eight passes defensed and two forced fumbles. The Pro Bowl nod was the second of his career and the All-Pro selection was his fourth, all of them to the second team. Simmons has the versatility to line up all over the defense: According to Pro Football Focus, he has played over 1,000 career snaps in the slot (15%), over 2,000 in the box (29%) and over 3,800 as a deep free safety (54%). 

He is still 30 years old and does not turn 31 until mid-November, and he should be highly sought after on the market -- especially given that due to his release, he will not count against the compensatory pick formula for any team that signs him. 

The safety market, however, is now extremely crowded, with each of Eddie JacksonKevin Byard, Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Rayshawn Jenkins, and Jordan Poyer being recently released, Xavier McKinney avoiding the transition tag, and players like Jordan Whitehead, Jordan Fuller, Kamren Curl, Tashaun Gipson, Julian Blackmon, DeShon Elliott, Geno Stone, Micah Hyde, Jayron Kearse, Mike Edwards, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Chinn, and a whole lot more reaching unrestricted free agency. It will be fascinating to see how this market develops, which players land big paydays, and which teams are able to land quality players on discounted deals after other seats are filled.