Von Miller

Bills To Open Von Miller’s Practice Window

Bills defensive end Von Miller opened the season on the PUP list as he continues to recover from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 campaign prematurely. That meant that Miller would miss at least the first four games of the season but would be eligible to return for Buffalo’s Week 5 contest against the Jaguars next Sunday.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bills are opening Miller’s practice window, and the future Hall of Famer will resume practicing this week. Once that happens, the club will have three weeks to add him to the 53-man roster, and if they do not do so, he will be ineligible to return this season.

Obviously, the Bills would not open the practice window if they did not believe Miller was close to game-ready (indeed, at the beginning of August, GM Brandon Beane expressed optimism that Miller would suit up for Week 1). However, that does not necessarily mean that Miller will be in the lineup in Week 5. As Schefter notes, Buffalo will continue to be cautious with Miller, and there is not yet a definitive return date.

Now 34, Miller signed a six-year, $120MM contract with the Bills in March 2022. In his first season in western New York, which lasted just 11 games, the eight-time Pro Bowler posted eight sacks and was viewed as one of the league’s best all-around defenders in the eyes of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. This offseason, Buffalo signed Leonard Floyd as something of a contingency plan, and Floyd has acquitted himself nicely, posting 3.5 sacks through the first three games of 2023.

Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa have also had some success this season, but the return of Miller will nonetheless be a welcome development for a team that has designs on a deep postseason run. The team currently ranks second in the league in terms of total defense, points allowed, and sacks, and Miller’s presence will make an already-imposing unit even more formidable.

In other news, safety Damar Hamlin is making his 2023 debut against the Dolphins today. While Hamlin participated in all three of the Bills’ preseason games, this will mark the third-year pro’s first regular season action since he collaped on the field due to commotio cordis in a Bills-Bengals game in January. Hamlin’s inspiring recovery has now come full circle, and he has taken the place of the injured Jordan Poyer on the active roster.

Bills’ Von Miller Uncertain To Return In Week 5

SEPTEMBER 10: Miller says that his knee was cleared even before the decision was made to put him on the PUP list (via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). However, Miller still has “steps to take” before he is football-ready, and per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, it is unclear if the second-year Bill will suit up when he is first eligible in Week 5.

AUGUST 29: The Bills will play it safe with Von Miller. Finishing up a rehab effort from a second ACL tear, the future Hall of Famer is not slated to come off Buffalo’s PUP list before today’s deadline.

Miller will move from the Bills’ active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. This will sideline Miller for at least four games. Miller has expressed confidence in his early-season readiness, and GM Brandon Beane said it was possible the dominant pass rusher suited up in Week 1. But the Bills will play the long game with their top pass rusher.

Considering the Bills’ path with Tre’Davious White, this Miller transaction certainly does not surprise. White suffered a torn ACL during the Bills’ Thanksgiving game in 2021; he did not make his 2022 debut until the team’s Thanksgiving contest in Detroit. That marked the only time White and Miller have played together, with the defensive end going down during the holiday tilt. Miller, 34, should not be expected to be out as long as White. But he will not be back until at least October.

This marks a different post-ACL path for Miller, who returned for Week 1 of the 2014 season despite suffering his first tear in December 2013. Miller returned to play in 16 games and finish with 14 sacks that year, but the circumstances are a bit different this time. Miller is going into his 13th season and already has a full-season absence (2020, due to an ankle malady) on his resume. The Bills also made an important adjustment to their pass-rushing group, signing ex-Miller Rams teammate Leonard Floyd.

Floyd, 30, agreed to a one-year, $7MM deal with the Bills in June. While Beane said the Bills targeted Floyd regardless of Miller’s status, the former top-10 pick also represented an insurance addition. Floyd and Gregory Rousseau will lead the way for the Bills to start the season, with A.J. Epenesa and Shaq Lawson in place as backups. Epenesa has drawn trade interest, but after the Bills sent Boogie Basham to the Giants earlier Tuesday, it should be expected the Iowa alum will stay put.

Miller is going into the second season of a six-year, $120MM extension. The All-Decade defender chose the Bills over the Cowboys and Rams last year and notched eight sacks to start his Buffalo tenure. Miller will miss games against the Jets, Raiders, Commanders and Dolphins. He can begin practicing ahead of Week 3 but cannot be activated until Week 5.

Latest On Von Miller

The Bills’ first padded practice took place on Monday, giving safety Damar Hamlin the opportunity to reach another checkpoint in his encouraging recovery process. It also marked an chance for the team to update the status of their edge rushing anchor.

Von Miller remains on the PUP list while he continues to rehab the ACL tear which ended his debut season in Buffalo. The 34-year-old has provided optimism on the matter of his Week 1 availability on multiple occasions this offseason, indicating that he feels he will be recovered in full by the season opener. General manager Brandon Beane is also encouraged by Miller’s progress.

Beane said there is “definitely a possibility” the future Hall of Famer will be in the lineup for Week 1 when speaking to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (h/t NFL.com). He cautioned, however, that the team is “not quite there” with respect to deciding on how to proceed with Miller, who was limited to 11 games last season. The latter is on the active/PUP list, meaning he can be activated at any time during training camp.

Miller is familiar with ACL recoveries, having gone through the same process during his highly-decorated Broncos tenure. He was able to return to All-Pro form the first time, and doing so again would be crucial to the Bills’ short- and long-term success. The eight-time Pro Bowler is entering the second season of his six-year, $120MM deal signed last offseason, and he will be the key member of Buffalo’s pass-rushing unit upon return.

A cautious approach with Miller (who earlier in the offseason labeled Week 6 as the latest point at which he would make his 2023 debut) would come as little surprise given his importance, as well as the team’s depth on the edge. Buffalo signed Leonard Floyd last month in a deal which was agreed to independent of Miller’s status. The former will join Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa and Carlos Basham Jras pass-rushing options to compliment Miller when he is healthy. If things stay on their current course, Buffalo could have a full array of edge defenders available when the season kicks off.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/25/23

With a number of teams preparing for the start of training camp, a long list of players were placed on inactive lists today. We’ve compiled all of those and today’s other minor moves below:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Free Agents

Isaiah Wilson hasn’t had an NFL gig since he was released by the Giants in January of 2022. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the free agent lineman was slapped with a three-game suspension, but it’s uncertain what led to the temporary ban. Wilson was a first-round pick by the Titans in 2020 but got into only one game with Tennessee before getting shipped off to Miami. He was waived by Miami after showing up late to his team physical, and his practice squad stint with New York only lasted one season.

Max Garcia is an experienced addition to the Saints OL room, with the veteran having most recently started seven of his 12 appearances with the Cardinals in 2022. The 31-year-old has 59 games of starting experience, although Pro Football Focus was iffy on his production last year (63rd among 77 qualifying offensive guards).

Following a three-year stint in Cleveland, Terrance Mitchell has spent the past two seasons bouncing around the NFL. He got into 14 games (13 starts) for the Texans in 2021, finishing with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He spent the 2022 season with the Titans, finishing with 39 tackles in 11 games (five starts). 49ers fifth-round pick Darrell Luter Jr. is set to miss some time with a knee injury, providing Mitchell with an opportunity during training camp.

Von Miller: ACL “All Healed Up”

Von Miller has provided multiple updates this offseason with respect to his progress in rehabbing from a torn ACL, stating that he intends to be available to begin the regular season. His most recent comments are the most encouraging yet on that front.

[RELATED: Miller’s Health Didn’t Affect Bills’ Floyd Pursuit]

“I have good information from my doctor and my knee is all healed up,” Miller said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Buffalo News“It’s all about me and how confident I can be [over] the next three months.”

The 34-year-old originally said Week 6 was the latest point at which he would return to game action, providing a baseline for expectations in his recovery. Miller has dealt with an ACL tear previously, and is central to the Bills’ pass rush considering the six-year, $120MM deal they signed him to last offseason. A cautious approach – like the one taken with cornerback Tre’Davious White in 2022 – would thus come as little surprise.

However, Miller has since indicated an expectation that he will be ready to suit up in time for Week 1, presuming the team feels comfortable with an accelerated return timeline. Their evaluation in the coming weeks will be critical, since a decision will soon need to be made on whether to place the future Hall of Famer on the physically unable to perform list during next month’s training camp. Electing not to do so would take away that option at the start of the season; a PUP designation sidelines a player for at least six weeks.

Alternatively, the Bills could choose to place Miller on IR after final roster cuts, which would make him ineligible for the first four games of the season. If the future Hall of Famer is able to return to form in practice in the near future, though, that step may not be necessary. The next few weeks will be crucial in determining how confident player and team feel heading into the 2023 season, one in which both face considerable expectations.

“Now I have to start working on my conditioning and position-specific drills and need to start transitioning back into a football player and not just a guy who is rehabbing and getting my leg strong,” Miller added. “Hopefully I can do that for the next two months and I’ll be ready on the third month.”

Von Miller Aiming For Week 1 Return

Von Miller continues to rehab his second career ACL tear, and attention continues to be paid to his recovery timeline. The Bills edge rusher has struck an optimistic tone with respect to his intended return date.

[RELATED: Bills Extend DT Ed Oliver]

The 34-year-old was limited to 11 contests in his debut Buffalo campaign, with his torn ACL marking a major blow to the team’s pass rush and Super Bowl aspirations. When asked about his recovery last month, Miller indicated that much remains to be seen, though he added that Week 6 could be the latest point at which he is next seen on the field.

Miller’s latest comments prove that he is eyeing a more immediate return, however. The longtime Bronco is satisfied with his recovery to date, something which is particularly encouraging considering the investment the Bills made in him last offseason. The future Hall of Famer is attached to a six-year, $120MM contract, making his health a top priority for the AFC contenders. Having Miller available for their regular season debut now may not be out of the question.

“10 years removed from [the 2013 ACL tear], 2023, I have a whole new outlook,” he said, via 9News’ Mike Klis“I know exactly where I’m supposed to be at two months, four months, six months and in the position where I’m at now, I feel great, I feel comfortable. I feel like I’ll be ready to go at the start of the season.

“Whenever it’s time for me to play, I’ll be ready to go. I want to be ready Week 1 versus the Jets… But if it’s not the first week of the season, then it won’t be any longer than Week 6, for sure.”

Whenever he is on the field, Miller will lead an edge rush group featuring recent draftees Gregory Rousseau, Carlos Basham Jr. and A.J. Epenesa, along with fellow veteran Shaq Lawson. The lack of signficant spending on the edge in terms of both free agent dollars and draft capital point to the Bills’ confidence in Miller’s ability to remain an All-Pro contributor following his rehab, and his level of play will be critical in 2023 and beyond.

Von Miller Addresses Return Timetable

Von Miller previously made it back from an ACL tear in time to start the following season, returning ahead of the 2014 slate despite suffering the injury in December 2013. Miller did not miss a game in 2014 and was available for every Broncos contest for the ensuing four years.

At 34, Miller is approaching his second such comeback differently. It does not sound like the Bills edge rusher is targeting Week 1 as a surefire comeback date from the ACL tear sustained on Thanksgiving. A return before the midseason point is squarely on the future Hall of Famer’s agenda, however.

No, I don’t,” Miller said (via the Buffalo News’ Mark Gaughan) when asked if he had a firm return timetable. “I did in 2013 when I tore my ACL I wanted to get back as fast as possible and play and show guys you don’t need to take nine months to recover from an ACL. But my goals are different now. I want to be here for my team when they need me the most.

I feel like late in the season when it really got tough, I wasn’t able to be there because I was injured. So the most important thing for me is to be available when my team really needs me. If that’s Week 1, then I’ll be happy for that. If it’s Week 6, I’ll happy for that. But I guarantee it won’t be any later than that.”

The 12-year veteran had kept the door open for a possible late-season return, as initial reports did not indicate an ACL tear. But doctors subsequently discovered a tear to lead to the shutdown. Miller missed the Bills’ final eight games.

The team’s caution with Tre’Davious White, who suffered a torn ACL on Thanksgiving 2021, would point to Miller missing the start of the season. While the two injuries are not equal, and full-year absences are not the norm for ACL recoveries. But the injuries occurring on Thanksgiving injects a rather key similarity. White did not come back to action until the Bills’ Thanksgiving game in Detroit. As such, Miller and White have barely shared the field thus far. Like the Bills missed White during their playoff shootout in Kansas City, their 2022 edition’s pass rush certainly lacked the punch it had when Miller was healthy.

Buffalo seems likely to place Miller on the active/PUP list when training camp starts. That camp-only designation will give the Bills flexibility, as they can either go game by game with Miller or stash their perennial Pro Bowl edge defender on the reserve/PUP list upon setting their roster. The latter course of action would sideline Miller for the season’s first four games — matchups against the Jets, Commanders, Raiders and Dolphins — while saving a roster spot.

Miller signed a six-year, $120MM Bills accord in March 2022, with the AFC East team outflanking the Rams and Cowboys for the former Super Bowl MVP’s services. Guarantees into Year 3 helped seal the deal. Miller produced early for his third NFL team, totaling eight sacks and 12 QB hits in 11 games. The Bills have re-signed a few defenders this offseason — Jordan Poyer, Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson among them — but did not make a major addition at defensive end. The team did not draft a D-lineman and will be counting on Miller to return to form.

Bills Notes: Hopkins, Miller, Diggs

The Bills have frequently been named as a potential destination for DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals wideout has been on the trade block for some time now, and an addition at the position is expected on the Bills’ part either on the trade front or at the draft.

[Poll: Who Will Acquire Hopkins?]

Von Miller – who was active in trying to recruit Odell Beckham Jr. to Buffalo last offseason in particular – is again pushing for a significant WR move. Fueling that effort is his belief that Hopkins is eyeing a move to the Bills, something which the latter recently hinted at.

“You got a lot of guys coming in and out [of offseason workouts],” Miller said, via Nick Wojton of BillsWire. “I talk to Hop all the time. It’s kind of like the same thing with OBJ, you just never know until you know. Hop said he wanted to be Buffalo Bill – and you just never know until you get that DeAndre Hopkins signature on a contract. I’m not sure of what circumstances are or what’s going on with that. I would love to see DeAndre Hopkins be here.”

The Bills are in need of a wideout to ease Stefon Diggs‘ workload; they also represent a contender, something which is important for Hopkins as he prepares for a potential trade and adjusted contract. Fitting him in at his current 2023 cap hit ($29.9MM) would be highly difficult given the team’s current financial situation, but recruiting from Miller could help convince Hopkins to play his role in green-lighting a move.

Here are a few other notes from Orchard Park:

  • Miller himself is the subject of plenty of questions heading into 2023, of course. The 34-year-old is coming off a torn ACL which cut short his debut season in Buffalo, the first of a six-year, $120MM deal which brought him to the Bills. Miller said he has yet to resume football activities, but he remains confident at this point in his rehab that he will be available “early in the season” (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe). That falls in line with the team’s expectation dating back to January; Miller’s importance to the Bills’ pass rush means his return will be highly anticipated, but also that he surely won’t be rushed back to the field.
  • Voluntary workouts started this week for Buffalo, meaning that tracking their attendance was a notable exercise. Diggs was among the absentees, as stated by general manager Brandon Beane (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, on Twitter). Many players skip the opening of offseason programs as part of ongoing contract disputes, but that isn’t the case for Diggs given the four-year, $96MM extension he signed last offseason. The decision by the 29-year-old to stay away from the team hasn’t led to any speculation as of yet, and missed time at this point in the spring usually isn’t harmful for star players from an on-the-field perspective. Diggs should be expected to join the team in the near future, though.

Bills Notes: Miller, DC Replacement, RB Addition

Von Miller has five years remaining on the deal he signed last offseason to join the Bills. That means the 33-year-old’s playing days should continue for at least the short-term future, but he already has a plan for his next career after he hangs up his cleats.

In an interview with 9News’ Mike Klis, Miller said he intends to pursue a career as a general manager once his playing career ends. He spent time at the Combine speaking with executives around the league to gain advice on how to one day begin the process of transitioning to the front office.

“It’s what I want to do,” the future Hall of Famer said. “I don’t have any experience. I know what a great football team looks like. I know what a winning football team looks like. A great staff, great equipment guys, great athletic trainers. I know what that looks like, I know what it takes to build those teams but that’s it.”

Miller noted that the success John Elway had both as a player and GM with the Broncos served as inspiration for his desire to work in a front office. He added that he has no intention of coaching once his playing days are over, so his success in finding a role in management will be something to watch down the road.

Here are some other notes out of Orchard Park:

  • The decision by Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to step away for the 2023 season leaves the team with a notable vacancy on their staff. As expected, an external hire will not be coming, though. GM Brandon Beane confirmed that filling the DC spot will be handled internally, and that head coach Sean McDermott will “head” the process of determining who calls plays for the unit next season (Twitter links via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). McDermott serving as de-facto DC would come as no surprise given his background on that side of the ball, but the Bills have other candidates for a short-term promotion, including highly-regarded defensive backs coach John Butler.
  • The Bills added to their running backs room at the draft last offseason by selecting James Cook in the second round. They made another move at the trade deadline by acquiring Nyheim Hines, but Bean indicated (via Jon Scott of Spectrum News, on Twitter) that the team will be in the market for another back this year. Specifically, a power back to compliment the relatively undersized Cooks and Hines is what the team is targeting. Devin Singletary is one of several free agents still available at the position, and a departure would not come as a surprise. Especially is Singletary signs elsewhere, RB will be a position of interest for the Bills in the near future.

Restructure Details: Cousins, Bills, Cowboys, Saints, Warner, Jets, Texans

Facing a Kirk Cousins cap crunch last year, the Vikings worked out a third contract with their starting quarterback. They did not take that path this year. Minnesota instead agreed to a restructure, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The reworking frees up $16MM in cap space for the Vikings, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweets. The Vikes look to have tacked on two more void years to Cousins’ deal. While the void years — for cap-reducing purposes — run through 2027, Cousins’ contract expires after the 2023 season. No extension is imminent.

The 34-year-old passer has enjoyed leverage throughout his Vikings relationship — via his free agency in 2018, ahead of his 2020 contract year on that fully guaranteed deal, and in 2022 as his second Vikes pact was set to produce a historic cap hit — but Minnesota’s new regime may now be looking toward moving on after the season. This will be a situation to monitor moving forward; Cousins has not played in a contract year since his 2017 Washington finale.

Here is the latest on teams’ restructures:

  • The Bills moved close to the 2023 league year in a cap hole, but they restructured the deals of their two highest-profile players to create considerable space. Buffalo reworked Josh Allen and Von Miller‘s contracts to create approximately $32MM in space, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. The Bills have moved their way up past $8MM in cap room.
  • Per usual, the Saints have been hard at work on restructures. They adjusted the deals of Cameron Jordan, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore to create cap space, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Katherine Terrell (all Twitter links). The Jordan move created more than $10MM in cap space for New Orleans, which was back to being north of $20MM over the cap following its Derek Carr signing. As the league year begins, New Orleans made it under the cap by just more than $300K.
  • In addition to restructuring Tyron Smith‘s deal to ensure the All-Decade tackle plays a 13th season with the team, the Cowboys adjusted the contracts of DeMarcus Lawrence and Michael Gallup, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes (Twitter links). Between them, the Lawrence and Gallup restructures freed up around $16MM for Dallas, which had already created more than $30MM in space by redoing Dak Prescott and Zack Martin‘s deals last week.
  • The 49ers restructured Fred Warner‘s extension, according to Yates (on Twitter). The move created nearly $9MM in cap space for San Francisco, which gave Javon Hargrave a four-year, $84MM deal to start the legal tampering period. A void year now exists in Warner’s contract, which runs through 2026 (with the void year coming in 2027). Warner’s cap number drops to $9MM but spikes past $24MM in 2024, which will probably prompt more maneuvering from the 49ers. They currently hold just more than $12MM in cap space.
  • Circling back to the Vikings, Jordan Hicks agreed to a restructure that will keep him in Minnesota this season, Insidethebirds.com’s Adam Caplan tweets. Hicks signed a two-year, $10MM deal with the Vikings last year.
  • Amid their Aaron Rodgers pursuit, the Jets created $4.8MM in cap space by restructuring John Franklin-Myers‘ contract, Yates tweets. Two void years are attached to the defensive lineman’s pact, which runs through 2025.
  • Texans safety Eric Murray agreed to a restructured deal as well, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes. Attached to a two-year, $10MM deal he signed in 2022, Murray remains on a Texans team that has seen its roster become crowded at safety. The team has added Jimmie Ward and re-signed M.J. Stewart this week. Murray played 17 games for the Texans last season but did not start any. This sounds like a pay-cut agreement, with Wilson adding Murray can make up to $4MM this season.