Broncos fans can take a big sigh of relief. As Von Miller announced himself on Twitter, he'll likely be a Bronco for life.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... Friday, with less than two hours remaining til the deadline, Miller agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos on a six-year, $114.5 million contract, with $70 million guaranteed.
The new contract not only makes Miller the highest-paid defensive player in the league, but also the highest-paid non-quarterback. Since March, he's been singing the Franchise Tag Blues, but now he gets to change his tune.
The elation and relief in the fanbase is palpable, but cocnerns on how this new mammoth of a contract will affect the franchise in the years ahead still weigh heavily on the minds of many.
Yes, the Broncos kept their best player. The question is, at what cost?
9NEWS' Mike Klis reported the framework of the deal.
2016: $23 million signing bonus, $2 million in salary and workout bonus, other bonuses. Total $25 million (fully guaranteed). The year one payout was the only metric he did not surpass Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who got $27.3 million upfront with his recent contract extension
2017: $17 million in salary, bonuses (fully guaranteed). Total is $42 million after two years. Cox got $36.3 million guaranteed after year two
2018: $19 million in salary, bonuses. (Injury-only guarantee, converts to full guarantee in eight months, or March 17). Total is $61 million after three years. Cox got $55.55 million guaranteed after year three
2019: $17.5 million in salary, bonuses. (Injury-only guarantee but $9 million converts to full guarantee a year earlier, or in March, 2018). Total is $78.5 million after four years with $70 million guaranteed. Cox got $63.3 million guaranteed after year four
2020 - 2021: Average of $18 million per year in salary and bonuses. (No guarantees). Total is $114.5 million after six years
$78.5 million will be paid out to Miller in the first four years of the deal, $70 million of which will be guaranteed. Absorbing a contract of this size is no new feat for GM John Elway and his cap wizard Michael Sullivan.
The Broncos paid now-retired quarterback Peyton Manning just shy of $20 million per year for three of the last four seasons. The Broncos won the division and went to the elite eight of the NFL postseason tournament in all three years.
"Yeah," you say. "But that's what an elite quarterback commands. The Broncos won't have the cap space to pay a top-tier quarterback now." That may be true.
But, that's why the selection of Paxton Lynch in the first round of the Draft this year, and trading for veteran Mark Sanchez, were so key. Even if 2016 is Sanchez's only year in Denver, and Lynch ascends to the starter's chair in 2017, the Broncos will only be paying Lynch a fraction of what they were paying Manning.
The organizational decisions that have been made from on high over the last six months will not only make it possible for the Broncos to absorb Miller's new mega-deal, but they'll also allow the the team to keep their elite defense in tact and thus continue to be competitive in the AFC moving forward.
Let's face it. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 because of Von Miller and their defense. Not because of their quarterback.
If Paxton Lynch becomes a franchise quarterback, the Broncos get him on the relative cheap for the next five seasons. Hats off, John Elway.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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