Super Bowl MVP Von Miller cashed in huge Friday and avoided the franchise tag dilemma. The six year $114 million deal with $70 million in guarantees makes Miller the highest paid non quarterback in league history.
As a Broncos fan, I agree with a lot of the conventional wisdom that has emerged. Yes, this is way too much money for a linebacker. However, John Elway and the rest of Broncos brass had no choice.
Miller bet on himself by not signing a long term deal prior to last season and hit the jackpot. 11 sacks in the regular season. Also, Tom Brady and Cam Newton are likely still seeing Miller in their nightmares after what he did to them during the playoffs.
Had Miller sat out the 2016 season and eventually ended up playing elsewhere, it would have been impossible to replace him. He is a once in a generation type of talent. The Broncos were in a tough spot here. This was the best possible outcome for all involved. I have no issue at all here with Miller. Any player must get what they can while they can. Good for him.
Contrary to popular belief, Miller’s megadeal does not hurt Denver’s ability to pay other players at all, at least not right now. The Broncos have some good young talent still playing on rookie deals. Also, while playing financial chicken for the better part of a year with Miller, Elway got long term deals done with two other key defensive pieces, linebacker Brandon Marshall and defensive end Derek Wolfe. As much as most media outlets want you to believe Denver’s roster is not set up for the long term, you have to dig deeper. Let’s take a look.
- Running back C.J. Anderson- 25 years old, under contract until 2020
- Wide Receiver Demaryus Thomas- 28 years old, under contract until 2020
- Linebacker Von Miller- 27 years old, under contract until 2022
- Linebacker Brandon Marshall- 26 years old, under contract until 2020
- Defensive end Derek Wolfe- 26 years old, under contract until 2020
- Cornerback Bradley Roby- 24 years old, under contract until 2018
- Cornerback Chris Harris- 27 years old, under contract until 2021
- Safety T.J. Ward- 29 years old, under contract until 2018
- Cornerback Aquib Talib- 30 years old, under contract until 2020
No other team in the league has that kind of proven talent locked up in the long term. Assuming everyone stays healthy, Denver will continue to compete for titles for at least another five years. They need serviceable quarterback play from Mark Sanchez in the short term, and franchise level quarterback play from Paxton Lynch in the long term. The organization has put both in the best possible position to deliver. There is also optimism that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will get a long term deal done to stay with the reigning world champions. The speedster is entering the final year of his deal.
John Elway continues to find ways to stretch a dollar better than any executive in sports. At this rate, he may be remembered as a better executive for the Broncos than he was a quarterback, and that is really saying something.
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