Tennessee Titans' Jon Robinson: Jeffery Simmons in 'top group of guys' to retain long term

Ben Arthur
Nashville Tennessean
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PALM BEACH, Fla. –  Wide receiver A.J. Brown is not the only star player from the 2019 draft class that the Tennessee Titans want to make sure stays put. 

General manager Jon Robinson said defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, their first-round pick that year, is in the “top group of guys” that the team wants to keep in Nashville. 

The Titans have not made a decision on picking up Simmons’ fifth-year option, though it is expected that they will by the May 2 deadline. Simmons would earn a fully guaranteed $10.753 million for 2023 if the option is picked up. 

“Jeff’s a good player,” Robinson said Monday at the NFL’s annual league meetings. “We want to keep as many good players as possible. He’s certainly in that top group of guys that we want to keep in Nashville.”

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (98) celebrates after sacking New Orleans Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian (15) during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

The 24-year-old Simmons had a breakout 2021 season, emerging as one of the NFL’s elite interior defensive linemen. He posted career-highs in sacks (8.5), tackles for loss (12), quarterback hits (16), hurries (10) and pressures (25). He was arguably the biggest star on the Titans’ dominant front four, which also features Harold Landry, Denico Autry and Bud Dupree. 

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There were concerns about Simmons entering the 2019 draft because of an off-the-field incident in high school and a torn ACL, which held him out of his first six games as a rookie. But he quickly flashed promise and is now recognized as a leader in the Titans’ locker room.

Simmons was a first-time captain last season. 

“He was a player that drew maybe some criticism when we did draft him for a lot of reasons," Robinson said. "He’s been a great teammate, been a great leader, been a great performer on the field. He’s a player we want to keep around here.”

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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