Jeffery Simmons on Contract Chatter: ‘Next Story’

NASHVILLE — Jeffery Simmons didn’t want his contract situation to become history this past offseason. So he said several times that he didn’t want to talk on this subject.

Recently, the problem has arisen again. He talked about it. Simmons spoke about it in an interview with The Athletic for a story that suggested he should be paid for what he is, one of – if not the – most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL.

On Wednesday, the 2021 Pro Bowler seemed surprised to have created history with his assessment that franchise officials, to date, have made no real offer on a long-term extension despite their expressed desire to keep him. beyond his current contract, which runs through the 2023 season. He tried to deflect discussion with local reporters during the day’s media availability, then tried to sidestep the issue entirely in a Twitter post later during the day.

“Listen, I like where I am!” Simmons wrote. “I love this organization and above all, my teammates! I’m not worried about a contract! I’m focused on winning! Next story PLEASE!! »

By any measure, Simmons is underpaid. He will earn a base salary of $2.21 million this season as part of the deal he signed when Tennessee drafted him 19th overall in 2019. He is expected to earn $10.753 million in 2023, the year of option who will complete his rookie contract.

In terms of base salary, he ranks 47th among all defensive linemen in the NFL and in terms of total money, he is 122nd for this season, according to Spotrac.com.

Scroll to continue

Such is the financial reality of the NFL, which limits how much players can earn on their rookie contracts. And for first-round picks like Simmons, those pacts allow teams to control the player for up to five years.

Speculation had been rife since the end of the 2021 season that the Titans wouldn’t wait until Simmons’ contract was up — or even close to it — to do more business with him. Rather than extend or renegotiate and extend, however, franchise officials held firm, even though Simmons, one of the team’s captains, skipped virtually all team practices during the offseason. .

“It was, ‘We want you here, but we don’t know exactly when we can pay you,'” Simmons told The Athletic, sparking the renewed interest in the issue. “The Titans were like, ‘We don’t know if we’re going to be able to get you what you think you’re worth. We want to pay you, but we don’t know where that’s going to come from. That’s basically what it was, not an offer.

The story also stated that Simmons decided over the summer that he would not show up for training camp in an effort to force a new deal. Eventually, however, he changed his mind and decided that he would play out the rest of his contract, if necessary.

In seven games, Simmons has played more snaps on defense than all but four of his teammates, and he is one of five players to start every game on defense. He played last Sunday in Houston – and well played – despite an ankle injury that left him sit a whole week of practice.

It was sidelined again on Wednesday when preparations began in earnest for this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Yes, Partrick Mahomes,” Simmons said. “I hope I can join him this weekend. This is where I focus. I’m not worried about a contract right now. I focus on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.