The Broncos and Von Miller haven’t begun substantive talks on a long-term extension, but when the sides do resume discussions, the outside linebacker’s asking price will be in line with what elite quarterbacks earn annually.
The outside linebacker’s reported price stems from what he could earn on the open market, especially considering Olivier Vernon‘s $17MM-AAV deal with the Giants. Miller’s camp views Vernon as a far inferior talent, Cole said. Multiple GMs told Cole that Miller’s demand isn’t unrealistic, with the star pass-rusher potentially being able to command $24-$25MM per year as a free agent.
Miller, who turns 27 on Saturday, posted 25 sacks the past two regular seasons compared to Vernon’s 14 and has four double-figure sack slates on his resume compared to Vernon’s one. So, his side will probably point out the chasm between these performers’ production.
John Elway has signed the three players he authorized a franchise tag for with the Broncos, giving long-term deals to Matt Prater, Ryan Clady and Demaryius Thomas in July of 2012, 2013 and 2015, respectively. But with Miller — the first player since Drew Brees in 2012 to receive the exclusive franchise tag — aiming to establish a new realm of defenders’ contracts, these negotiations figure to be more complex.
Justin Houston established the benchmark for outside rushers last season by signing for $16.8MM per year. Ndamukong Suh makes $19.1MM on average. Despite his two first-team All-Pro honors and his five-sack postseason, Miller will probably have trouble securing over $3MM more than Suh earns annually due to his franchise tag.
Miller’s tag will pay him just more than $14MM, and should he opt to play on that this season, the Broncos could apply the tag again in 2017 on a 20% raise ($16.95MM). With that figure coming in well shy of what Miller’s seeking, the Broncos aren’t necessarily inclined to measure what Miller could earn on an open market like the Giants were with a UFA like Vernon.
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