Von Miller Notes: Wednesday

An offseason spent making the media rounds and dancing in various costumes gave way to some firm contract talks for Von Miller on Wednesday. The Broncos offered their superstar pass-rusher a six-year, $114.5MM contract only to see the sixth-year linebacker turn it down. The team quickly pulled the offer.

As for what’s next: Miller could be the first Bronco in the John Elway era to play a season on a franchise tag, albeit an exclusive tag that rose from $14.13MM to $14.26MM after the RFA period closed on April 22 (Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets), or come to grips with the fact that the Broncos probably aren’t going to increase that offer much.

Denver’s proposal, which contained $39.8MM in fully guaranteed money, surpassed Ndamukong Suh‘s 2015 Dolphins pact in total value and would make the 27-year-old Miller the highest-paid defender. Miller may, however, be angling for an increase in full guarantees — Suh’s deal contained $59.5MM in full guarantees, far more than elite quarterbacks received on their recent extensions — and could push for the Broncos to inflate those figures past three years’ worth of franchise tags, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

The 2017 tag would pay Miller $16.92MM, with the ’18 tag at $24.36MM, per Florio, for a three-year total of $55.38MM. Miller’s team has not leaked its demands yet, although we heard earlier this offseason Miller wanted a $22MM-AAV deal that compared to the top-flight QB extensions. However, as Corry points out (on Twitter), Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Marcell Dareus. received $44.5MM, $44MM and $42.9MM, respectively, upon signing their mammoth accords, so it’s unlikely the Broncos pay the Suh price at signing for a player with whom they have exclusive negotiating rights as opposed to Miami’s situation with then-UFA Suh.

Elway’s used the franchise tag on three players since becoming GM in 2011 — Matt Prater in 2012, Ryan Clady in ’13 and Demaryius Thomas last year — and each agreed to extensions before the July 15 deadline, Thomas doing so on July 15, 2015. That’s probably where this is headed.

Here’s the latest on Miller.

  • Corry argues the Broncos should permit the third year of Miller’s deal become fully guaranteed in February of the second year as is the case in Thomas’ contract (Twitter link). Thomas signed a five-year, $70MM last summer and is the only current Bronco set to make more than Miller this season in the form of a $15.2MM cap number. Thomas received $35MM guaranteed at signing. Corry maintains (on Twitter) there sufficient framework exists for the Broncos and Miller to find common ground by July 15.
  • The lack of a franchise quarterback salary on Denver’s books for what could be as long as four years helps the Broncos be able to frontload Miller’s deal, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com writes. The Broncos commonly use this tactic to avoid high guarantees in veterans’ later years — as is the case in Aqib Talib‘s six-year deal, which will pay out most of the remaining guarantees in Year 3 this fall. They stand to possess an NFL-most $65.3MM in cap space in 2017, so deals for Miller, Brandon Marshall and Emmanuel Sanders aren’t unrealistic. Not paying Brock Osweiler $18MM+ per year and instead drafting Paxton Lynch provides an opening for more veteran extensions.
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