NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The contract negotiations between the Tennessee Titans and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons were an exhausting process for the two-time Pro Bowler. But after almost three months, a text message consisting of three exclamation points signified the end was near.

Titans general manager Ran Carthon was on the receiving end of the message from Simmons’ agent, Paul DeRousselle, as he was on the brink of cementing his first major deal in the role.

“Gimme some good news,” Carthon replied.

“You got your dude, bro,” DeRousselle said.

But the call Simmons had been waiting for went better than he imagined. DeRousselle outlined an offer from the Titans, but it wasn’t just any old offer.

The four-year contract extension would be worth $94 million, including $66 million in guarantees, making Simmons the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL — behind only the Los Angeles RamsAaron Donald.

“I was like Paul, stop calling me until something gets done,” Simmons said with a laugh. “I’m tired of talking like every other day. But it was the commitment that Paul made.”

Simmons was in. And just like that, the 2019 first-round pick became the second first-round pick by Tennessee over the past nine years to make it to a second contract, joining 2015 first-rounder Taylor Lewan.

But the Titans had to get buy-in from his uncle, Jason Hatcher. Hatcher, a former defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, is co-founder of the Walking Business Sports Group, which represents Simmons. He put a little pressure on DeRousselle to flex how much he really believed in the deal.

Simmons said the deal stayed true to his priorities, which were to put him in a position to create generational wealth as he enters his fifth season. Knowing that was the case, Simmons texted DeRousselle while they were on the phone with Hatcher telling him to “stand on that s—” because they felt it was a good deal.

“Short term, we knew if he didn’t play football again, you factor in his fifth-year option [$10.75 million] and the new money [$66 million], he got $76 million,” DeRousselle said.

Finally, the three came to an agreement.

“It was a long talk right before we made the decision,” Simmons said. “It was like, ‘What are we going to do, guys? Are we in or are we not?’ It was unbelievable. I heard a couple of tears on the phone.”

The deal probably wouldn’t have come to fruition when it did if it wasn’t for the due diligence of both Simmons’ camp and the Titans first-year general manager, who reached out to Simmons’ camp days after he took the job in January.

“This was something that was a priority to get done,” Carthon said.

However, there were times when things seemed in doubt to those on the outside, especially after Simmons scrubbed his social media of Titans content.

“My biggest thing was I wanted to eliminate myself from all of the distractions,” Simmons said. “I wanted to just focus on getting healthy, working out. My goal was to focus on myself at that time.”

The Titans have traditionally not signed players to contract extensions until July. But Simmons believed from the beginning he didn’t have much to worry about.

“When I first met Ran, he told me I would be here in Tennessee,” Simmons said. “I would say Ran kept his word.”

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk also gave Simmons an early indication everything was going to work out.

“I don’t remember exactly what week it was [during the season], but to hear her say, ‘We’re going to take care of you here,’ that’s what put me at ease,” Simmons said.

The first offer came while Simmons was at the Pro Bowl in early February. It was a reasonable offer that showed Carthon and the Titans meant business, but things wouldn’t be that easy. But the offer was the start of a back and forth dialed in on finding the best agreement to keep Simmons in Nashville.

“There was never a moment when we weren’t talking,” Carthon said. “We were diligently working to get this done.”

Things heated up between the two parties on April 1, and a deal was agreed upon less than a week later. DeRousselle was in Nashville for a family event with Simmons when he FaceTimed with Carthon that night.

“What the hell you FaceTiming me for,” Carthon jokingly said.

The call went on for two hours, and the two would eventually meet at the Titans facility the next day. Carthon went to his computer and put some details for the deal up on a big screen, and eventually the foundation was set.

There were some minor tweaks over the next few days before Simmons, Carthon and DeRousselle ultimately arrived at the deal that worked for everyone. Simmons gave DeRousselle the green light to let Carthon know late Thursday night before Easter weekend that he was in.

“[Negotiations were] collaborative and never combative,” DeRousselle said. “We never got away from the purpose. We didn’t negotiate through the media. We just did good, clean business.”

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An inside look at how the Titans made Simmons their $94M man – Tennessee Titans Blog