If Von Miller had his way, he would be a Denver Bronco for the rest of his NFL career. The Broncos agree…if the price is right.
In an appearance on the NFL Network Monday night, Miller said that the Mile High City is the only place he wants to play professional football. “I want to be with the Denver Broncos,” Miller said. “I want to be with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, all those guys. I want to be with those guys for the rest of my career.”
Miller’s contract with the Broncos expires at the beginning of next month and it could take upwards of $20 million per year to keep the Super Bowl 50 MVP in Denver. While there remains optimism that the Broncos will be able to come to a deal in the foreseeable future, it could take some time before the two sides are able to work out the final kinks of what will likely be the largest contract for a defensive player in the history of professional football.
In the meantime, the Broncos are expected to place the exclusive rights franchise tag on Miller before the 2:00 pm deadline March 1 to keep him off the free agent market, where his price tag would somehow inflate beyond the already unworldly figures at which it currently sits.
Unlike so many other NFL stars, Miller, who played under a fifth year team option this season, did not seem bothered by the prospect of having the franchise tag placed on him in his NFL network interview. “If you look at it, last year was a franchise tag for me as well,” Miller said. “It was a contract year, there was a lot of uncertainty for me. For me, I’ve never been franchised before. So, I can’t really say ‘I don’t want to be franchised.’ I can tell you what, I want to be with the Denver Broncos. Whatever it takes to get it done, I’m down for.”
After the Broncos place the tag on Miller Tuesday afternoon, sources say there won’t be a definitive timeline for a long-term contract to be worked out. The Broncos have 15 other players facing unrestricted free agency, including quarterback Brock Osweiler, and will likely use the tag as a way to put Miller’s deal to the side while they focus on others and go through their draft process, much like they did with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas last season. However, if no long-term deal is reached by mid-day on July 15, Miller will be obligated to play under the tag.
In the past, Broncos General Manager John Elway has found ways to come to terms with franchised players before that deadline. Kicker Matt Prater, tackle Ryan Clady, and Thomas all received long-term contracts after having the franchise tag placed on them.
However, this tag is somewhat different. If he were to play under the franchise tag, Miller would cost the Broncos just north of $14 million next season. He is worth significantly more than that, and with his history of off field issues some sources say the Broncos would be willing to have Miller play 2016 on that team friendly franchise tag if he is not willing to give Denver a “hometown discount.”
In an appearance on Fox Sports’ “The Herd” Miller hinted that taking such a deal might not be completely out of the cards. “The franchise tag is a tool to try and get a contract done,” Miller said. “If I’ve got to play on it, I’ll play on it. You know, I want to do what’s best for the team. We’ve got a lot of guys that signed great contracts for us. Derek Wolfe, he’s going to be there for a couple of years. Chris Harris, Aqib Talib. That’s what I want to be. I want to do whatever it takes to be with my teammates.”
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