Von Miller is a monster on the gridiron and was a big reason for the Broncos’ Super Bowl Championship run last season. He is a complete defender who can do pretty much anything his coaches ask of him. Over five seasons, he has accumulated 60 sacks, including 11 last season. It can be argued that he was their most valuable player all of last year, and that was solidified by winning the Super Bowl MVP award. That’s what makes his current contract dispute so precarious.
The Broncos placed the franchise tag on Miller this offseason, which guarantees him $14.1 million in the coming year. But with the unpredictable nature of an NFL career, Von wants a deal with long term security, and rightfully so. If he was to play under the franchise tag and get seriously injured, he would never see the kind of money that he could potentially get this year. So he has taken a stand and said that there is “no chance” he will play under the franchise tag this offseason.
I’ve got to agree with Von’s stance on this one. The owners have all of the power when it comes to contracts with their players, and it would be foolish for him to not use the little bit of leverage he is ever likely to have in this situation. He’s only 27 years old and is coming off of the best year of his career, if he doesn’t go after the big money now, he might not ever get it again. And I’m not talking about the contract that he already rejected.
Negotiations for a long-term deal have been ongoing between Von Miller and the Broncos, but it seems like there is still quite a bit of ground that needs to be made up. The offer the Broncos made was for 6 years and $114.5 million. The problem was that the contract only guaranteed $39.8 million. For comparison, Fletcher Cox of the Eagles, a much more one-dimensional player than Von Miller, just got $63 million guaranteed. I’m not saying that Cox isn’t a good player, but I’ve never seen him cover a slot receiver either. As far as I’m concerned, $39.8 million guaranteed is a slap in the face for someone who means that much to the team.
Von Miller’s rejection of that contract was definitely the right move. It solidifies his position in the contract negotiations and shows general manager, John Elway, that he won’t be intimidated and that he knows what he is worth. Von seems ready to sit out as much of the 2016 season as necessary in order to make sure that he is compensated at a rate that reflects what he brings to the Broncos’ defense. But I find it hard to believe it will come to that.
I don’t blame John Elway for starting low, but it’s time to get realistic. That should have been the contract offer in May, not June. With Mark Sanchez starting at quarterback, the Broncos are going to need that defense to be at full strength for 16 games if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs again. I think Elway has got to know that.
So my prediction is that Von Miller will sign a contract before the July 15th deadline that will give him the highest guaranteed money ever for a non-quarterback. It will come in at $64 million, just beating out Fletcher Cox’s outrageous contract. Then he can get back to sacking opposing QBs, like god intended.