What The Houston Contract Means For Miller

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Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston just signed a $101 million deal that includes $52.5 million in guarantees and a $20.5 million signing bonus—the second-largest defensive contract in NFL history. Contractually, the Denver Broncos cannot catch a break. But that's the price you pay for drafting well.

Von Miller is playing in a contract year, after the Broncos exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Without an in-season extension, Miller will hit the open waters of free agency, which is something Denver would like to avoid.

Will Von Miller Become The Highest-Paid Defender In The NFL? SOUND OFF IN THE FORUMS!

By most measurements, Miller is a superior player to Houston. In 60 career games, Miller has graded out positively in 54 of those games according to Pro Football Focus. Of the six games in which Miller graded out negatively, four of those came during his rookie season. He is one of the most consistent players in the NFL. In contrast, Houston has graded out negatively in 19 of his 60 career games.

Including playoffs, Miller has recorded 50.5 career sacks, while Houston has recorded 49.5. Miller has 247 tackles to Houston's 238. Miller has forced 13 fumbles and recovered two, while Houston has forced seven and recovered five, via Pro-Football-Reference.com. Each has recorded an interception, while Miller has deflected nine passes to Houston's 19. Miller has also scored a defensive touchdown.

Related Story: 2015: Von Miller Rising

Almost none of these stats matter when it comes to Miller or Houston, save for one—sacks. Houston got paid for his ability to rush the quarterback. Likewise, Miller will not be paid for his consistency—he will be paid for his ability to rush the passer. In addition to Miller's 50.5 career sacks, he has also hit the QB 57 times, hurried the QB 168 times and recorded 164 stops. For Houston, he has recorded 27 hits, 141 hurries and 162 stops.

Throughout his career, in addition to being a better overall player, Miller has been a more disruptive pass rusher and better run stopper. All this has been achieved in a 4-3 defense that doesn't exactly fit Miller's skill-set, or center around a strongside linebacker.

This season under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Miller will play across from DeMarcus Ware in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career, a situation that will undoubtedly allow Miller to maximize his potential, coupled with the fact that he will now be a year removed from his ACL injury.

Related Story: Von Miller Hungry For Season To Begin

Miller's future contract can play out one of two ways—an extension can be signed before the end of the regular season that is friendly to the team, like Chris Harris, Jr. Or the Broncos can franchise tag Miller following 2015, which would allow them to negotiate an extension in the offseason, without having to compete with league-wide suitors. Of the options, I wholly expect Miller to take advantage of the latter route to maximize his contract.

When all is said and done, Miller may end up as the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. With three Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons under his belt (in four seasons), he has consistently been one of the most explosive and consistent defenders in football.

The only fly in the ointment in Miller becoming the highest-paid defender in NFL history, are his off-the-field issues, which led to him being suspended for the first six games of 2013. He has reportedly wised up since that career low, much of which can be attributed to the influence of Ware—a player he idolized growing up.

More Broncos Stories

Almost losing everything you've ever worked for, including the potential for vast wealth, can turn a player's career trajectory around on a dime. Would that all troubled young players saw life through that lens.

We also shouldn't discount Miller's impact in the Denver community and all the charity work he's done through "Von's Vision". This is a young player who has sunk roots in Denver and has established himself as an outgoing philanthropist, which should help his cause in future negotiations.

Khalid Alshami is an Analyst for MileHighHuddle.com. You can find him on Twitter @Kalshami_MHH.

Follow MileHighHuddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Broncos tickets and merchandise.


Mile High Huddle Top Stories

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Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston just signed a $101 million deal that includes $52.5 million in guarantees and a $20.5 million signing bonus—the second-largest defensive contract in NFL history. Contractually, the Denver Broncos cannot catch a break. But that's the price you pay for drafting well.

Von Miller is playing in a contract year, after the Broncos exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Without an in-season extension, Miller will hit the open waters of free agency, which is something Denver would like to avoid.

[MEDIA:1549098]Will Von Miller Become The Highest-Paid Defender In The NFL? SOUND OFF IN THE FORUMS!

By most measurements, Miller is a superior player to Houston. In 60 career games, Miller has graded out positively in 54 of those games according to Pro Football Focus. Of the six games in which Miller graded out negatively, four of those came during his rookie season. He is one of the most consistent players in the NFL. In contrast, Houston has graded out negatively in 19 of his 60 career games.

Including playoffs, Miller has recorded 50.5 career sacks, while Houston has recorded 49.5. Miller has 247 tackles to Houston's 238. Miller has forced 13 fumbles and recovered two, while Houston has forced seven and recovered five, via Pro-Football-Reference.com. Each has recorded an interception, while Miller has deflected nine passes to Houston's 19. Miller has also scored a defensive touchdown.

Related Story: 2015: Von Miller Rising

Almost none of these stats matter when it comes to Miller or Houston, save for one—sacks. Houston got paid for his ability to rush the quarterback. Likewise, Miller will not be paid for his consistency—he will be paid for his ability to rush the passer. In addition to Miller's 50.5 career sacks, he has also hit the QB 57 times, hurried the QB 168 times and recorded 164 stops. For Houston, he has recorded 27 hits, 141 hurries and 162 stops.

Throughout his career, in addition to being a better overall player, Miller has been a more disruptive pass rusher and better run stopper. All this has been achieved in a 4-3 defense that doesn't exactly fit Miller's skill-set, or center around a strongside linebacker.

This season under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Miller will play across from DeMarcus Ware in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career, a situation that will undoubtedly allow Miller to maximize his potential, coupled with the fact that he will now be a year removed from his ACL injury.

Related Story: Von Miller Hungry For Season To Begin

Miller's future contract can play out one of two ways—an extension can be signed before the end of the regular season that is friendly to the team, like Chris Harris, Jr. Or the Broncos can franchise tag Miller following 2015, which would allow them to negotiate an extension in the offseason, without having to compete with league-wide suitors. Of the options, I wholly expect Miller to take advantage of the latter route to maximize his contract.

When all is said and done, Miller may end up as the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. With three Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons under his belt (in four seasons), he has consistently been one of the most explosive and consistent defenders in football.

The only fly in the ointment in Miller becoming the highest-paid defender in NFL history, are his off-the-field issues, which led to him being suspended for the first six games of 2013. He has reportedly wised up since that career low, much of which can be attributed to the influence of Ware—a player he idolized growing up.

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More Broncos Stories
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Almost losing everything you've ever worked for, including the potential for vast wealth, can turn a player's career trajectory around on a dime. Would that all troubled young players saw life through that lens.

We also shouldn't discount Miller's impact in the Denver community and all the charity work he's done through \"Von's Vision\". This is a young player who has sunk roots in Denver and has established himself as an outgoing philanthropist, which should help his cause in future negotiations.

Khalid Alshami is an Analyst for MileHighHuddle.com. You can find him on Twitter @Kalshami_MHH.

Follow MileHighHuddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Broncos tickets and merchandise.

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