If Von Miller were to reach the open market, he would likely be looking to become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), who points to Ndamukong Suh‘s six-year, $114MM deal with the Dolphins as the one Miller would like to match or exceed. As Cole notes, there would be plenty of teams with interest in the outside linebacker if he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
However, the odds of Miller hitting the open market look pretty slim. Even though the Broncos have other key free agents that could be candidates for the franchise tag, including Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson, Denver is expected to use that tag on its star pass rusher, says Cole. That doesn’t mean Miller won’t sign a long-term deal this offseason, but it would have to be either with the Broncos or with a team willing to give up two first-round picks to land him, so his leverage will be limited.
Here’s more from around the NFL’s West divisions:
- The Cardinals‘ top priority this offseason will be improving their pass rush, and GM Bruce Arians said on Arizona Sports 98.7 that he doesn’t expect to make an impact addition in free agency, says Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. That means that the team will likely target a pass rusher early on in the draft.
- Within his article, Urban notes that if a player like Miller were to avoid the franchise tag and reach free agency, it could change the Cardinals‘ stance. While that’s unlikely to happen, I wonder if Arizona might be willing to consider an offer sheet for the Broncos pass rusher even if he gets franchised — parting with two first-round selections wouldn’t be as significant a blow for a team like the Cardinals, whose first-rounders won’t be particularly high picks. Teams are typically hesitant to pursue other teams’ franchised players, not wanting to part with those picks, and I doubt the Cardinals would seriously go after Miller if he’s franchised. For a pass rusher of his caliber though, it’s at least worth considering.
- While the 49ers have the cap space and low payroll necessary to be very aggressive in free agency, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap doesn’t expect the team to splurge in March. Within his preview of San Francisco’s offseason, Fitzgerald suggests it would make sense for the Niners to lock up defensive lineman Ian Williams to a three-year contract and cut linebacker Ahmad Brooks.