Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller could not have picked a better time to be atop the NFL world as the Super Bowl MVP. He is a free agent in the offseason and could be on his way to a massive payday.
He appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio and discussed his situation and how he will potentially interact with Broncos executive vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway in regard to his financial future:
Miller was the MVP of Denver’s 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. He tallied 2.5 sacks and set up both of the Broncos' touchdowns in the game. Miller notched a strip-sack on Cam Newton in the first quarter, which Malik Jackson fell on in the end zone, and also forced another Newton fumble in the fourth quarter while Carolina was trailing 16-10.
T.J. Ward leaped on that loose ball, and C.J. Anderson parlayed it into a touchdown run on the ensuing possession to give the Broncos an insurmountable two-score lead.
That Miller bothered Newton throughout the Super Bowl was noteworthy because the Broncos picked the linebacker with the second overall selection in the 2011 draft, right after Carolina took the quarterback at No. 1. Miller has spent his entire career in Denver and tallied at least 11 sacks in four of his five campaigns.
Here is a look at some of his head-turning numbers, which illustrate why he will command so much money in the offseason:
|Year||Games||Combined Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries|
Miller is a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro (2012 and 2015) and the 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com said Elway “could have a franchise-tag dilemma” with Miller set to become a free agent and the quarterback situation in flux. Peyton Manning could retire, and Brock Osweiler is also going to be a free agent.
Patra added more context:
According to sources, Denver plans to tag Miller and then try to work out a deal. ... If allowed to hit the open market, Miller likely would command a deal similar to the record contract Ndamukong Suh earned from the Miami Dolphins last year. With the salary cap set to jump and the dearth of pass rushers in the NFL, there would have been a bidding war for the former No. 2 overall pick and two-time All-Pro.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com added, “One reason Von Miller will get tagged: He wants to be the highest-paid defensive player in football.”
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, Suh signed with the Miami Dolphins before the 2015 season for six years and $114 million, with $60 million of it guaranteed. J.J. Watt signed with the Houston Texans in 2014 for six years and $100 million, with $51.8 million guaranteed.
Miller’s teammate Chris Harris Jr. supports the linebacker’s goal to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
“Oh, easy. J.J. Watt doesn't have a ring," he said on Thursday’s NFL Total Access (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com). "Von has a ring, and he's the (Super Bowl) MVP. The way he's been able to lead us with his rushing ability. I mean, he still has a lot left. He still has a lot of improvement to do to get better.”
Miller will be only 27 years old next season. It is a scary thought for opposing quarterbacks that Miller could have “a lot of improvement” in his future, especially given his status as a Super Bowl MVP and dominant pass-rusher.
How much Denver is willing to pay to make sure that improvement happens for the Broncos will set the tone for the reigning Super Bowl champion’s offseason.