With the signing of Simmons and Cochran the team can concentrate on the upcoming draft and the signing of All Pro tackle Walter Jones. The team has tagged Jones as their franchise player.
Simmons has been a standout player since his rookie season in 1996. He has started in 59 of his 67 appearances and has 345 career tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions. Although he missed nine games last season because of a high ankle sprain, his play was one the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball.
Simmons signed a five-year contract that is worth $24 million and includes an $8.5 million signing bonus.
Cochran signed a four year, $10 million dollar deal with a $3 million signing bonus.
The fourth round pick from Georgia in the 1999 draft had his best season in 2002.Cochran started all 16, collected 52 tackles, had three sacks, one forced fumbles and one interception.
The signing of Cochran and Simmon should help Defensive Coordinator Ray Rhodes task of rebuilding the defensive unit .
"The strength is to keep your own players who you know and are homegrown and have a feel for the team and a passion to play for that team. We are interested in getting the football team better." said General Manager Bob Ferguson.