3:31pm: Speaking this afternoon to reporters, Broncos GM John Elway essentially echoed Rapoport’s report from this morning, suggesting that the team has “exchanged some offers” with Miller and is “very hopeful” about getting something done (Twitter links via Rapoport and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post).
However, Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (all Twitter links) hears that there have been no “substantive” negotiations yet between the Broncos and Miller (or Osweiler). The team is set to meet tomorrow with the reps for Miller, who is aiming to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league, says Getlin.
There are a couple potential reasons for the apparent discrepancy between Rapoport’s and Getlin’s reports. It’s possible that the Broncos realized after exchanging proposals that the two sides aren’t as far apart as expected, making the team hopeful about getting a deal done, even if negotiations haven’t gotten serious yet. It’s also possible that Rapoport and Getlin are getting accounts from two different sides of the talks — the team may be more optimistic about a deal than Miller’s reps are.
9:33am: The Broncos are “poised to push” for a long-term contract extension for Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). According to Rapoport, the two sides have had talks and there’s optimism that a deal can get done.
Miller, long viewed as the best player on an expiring contract, had another excellent season in 2015, racking up 11 regular-season sacks to go along with four forced fumbles. In the playoffs, the former second overall pick added another five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception, playing a key role in the team’s Super Bowl win over the Panthers.
Based on Miller’s outstanding play and his importance to the Broncos, there’s no question the team will retain him somehow. Most observers expect the club to use its franchise tag on the standout pass rusher, which would give the two sides another few months to work out a multiyear agreement. If no long-term deal could be reached by July 15th in that scenario, Miller could play the 2016 season on the one-year franchise tag.
As Rapoport suggests (via Twitter), if the Broncos can get a longer-term pact for Miller finalized before the March 1st franchise tag deadline, it would open up the team’s options for quarterback Brock Osweiler. Personally, I’d be surprised if the club franchised Osweiler – who would be in line for a salary of nearly $20MM if he’s tagged – or even Malik Jackson, whose price will be a little more reasonable. But it’s definitely true that locking up Miller would create more flexibility for the Broncos with their other pending free agents.
If the Broncos can sign Miller to a new contract, it’s expected to be a “mega-deal,” per Rapoport. A total value that exceeds J.J. Watt‘s $100MM extension and Justin Houston‘s $101MM pact seems very likely.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.