Von Miller and the Denver Broncos have been at a stalemate for months when it comes to a long-term extension. Miller’s camp is looking for the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, while Broncos general manager John Elway doesn’t want to break the bank on Von’s contract as he tries to be mindful of his team’s salary cap situation.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Broncos’ most recent offer to Miller was for six years and $115 million with $61 million guaranteed by March 2017. Von is reportedly looking for $70 million guaranteed after Fletcher Cox got $63 million guaranteed from the Philadelphia Eagles last month. It would seem that a $9 million gap wouldn’t be that hard to close by the July 15 deadline, but Miller went on ESPN on Monday to talk about his position.
Von Miller considers the franchise tag a problem in the NFL, and he believes he can help fix it by refusing to sign https://t.co/QYh8bcT9VL
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 11, 2016
“No, I’m not gonna play on the franchise tag. It just doesn’t make sense in any way,” Miller said.
Von says that his issue isn’t about the money with the franchise tag but about the unfairness that comes along with it. Miller is looking at the bigger picture and trying to abolish the franchise tag by not signing it and refusing to play.
“I’ve never really played for money,” Miller said. “It’s bigger than that for me. It’s a league-wide problem that I feel like I’m in a situation to help out with.”
This is likely all just posturing by Miller to send a message to the Broncos in contract negotiations. Von’s only leverage at this point would be to threaten to sit out the entire season. The more that he can convince the Broncos that he is willing to sit out over the next few days, the more likely Elway will come closer to Miller’s asking price.
Unfortunately for Von Miller, he has to be willing to actually sit out the entire season because Elway is one of the few general managers in the NFL who has proven that he won’t overpay for players. He doesn’t like to be put in a position where he’s forced to do something, although this strategy did work last offseason for Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas who got a five-year $70 million deal just before the deadline.
— NFLonNBC (@SNFonNBC) July 11, 2016
Miller is coming off of a season in which he recorded 11 sacks, the second-lowest total of his five-year career. But Von turned it on in the playoffs as he recorded five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception in only three games. Miller’s biggest performance came in Super Bowl 50 as he sacked Cam Newton two-and-a-half times and forced two fumbles, one of which resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Broncos.
The Broncos’ top-ranked defense wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous without the pass-rushing abilities of Von Miller. DeMarcus Ware is still a viable force, but he’ll be 34-years-old before the season starts and only recorded seven-and-a-half sacks last season, and second-year pro Shane Ray doesn’t seem to be quite ready to step in and fill Miller’s shoes quite yet.
For all of these reasons, expect a deal to get done by Friday between the Broncos and Miller. With the losses of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler at quarterback, the Broncos will need the defense to be at the top of its game next season if there’s going to be any chance of making the playoffs. In order for that to happen, Von Miller will need to be in uniform for Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
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