Von Miller

AFC West Notes: Bolts, Broncos, Incognito

Tyrod Taylor could be on the verge of being benched in September for a second time in three seasons. A chest injury he was battling caused Justin Herbert to be called upon Sunday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report Taylor received a pregame injection to the area (Twitter link). Complications ensued, prompting Chargers HC Anthony Lynn to call on Herbert. While the No. 6 overall pick fared better than could be expected, given the lack of offseason prep time, Lynn has not named him the Chargers’ Week 3 starter. The fourth-year coach said he will turn back to Taylor when he is “100%” recovered from the chest setback.

Whether “100%” will be how the Bolts justify keeping Herbert in the lineup or not, it would seem difficult for the team to give the job back to its bridge starter. The Chargers drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds for the first time since 2006 and saw him throw for 311 yards in an overtime loss, making it entirely possible Taylor is benched again. The Browns sidelined Taylor after three starts in 2017.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
  • Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
  • Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.
  • Richie Incognito left Monday night’s Raiders win with an Achilles issue, but the veteran guard may not miss any time. Incognito aggravated a previous injury but did not suffer a tear, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders were already down right tackle Trent Brown, due to a reportedly not serious calf injury, and backup tackle Sam Young against the Saints.

Return Possible For Broncos’ Von Miller?

SEPTEMBER 15: The Broncos placed Miller on injured reserve Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Miller underwent a successful ankle surgery last week. While he is likely to miss the rest of the season, the Broncos carrying their defensive centerpiece onto their 53-man roster before the IR placement would allow him to return in 2020.

SEPTEMBER 9: Broncos edge rusher Von Miller has been diagnosed with a dislocated peroneal tendon, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). In layman’s terms, this means that Miller’s tendon flipped over the ankle bone. Surgery seems likely for the Broncos star, which usually requires 5-6 months of recovery time. However, in an “absolute best-case scenario,” players can return to the field after three months of rehab. 

[RELATED: Broncos’ Von Miller Done For Year?]

Miller suffered the injury on the last snap of Tuesday’s practice, a heartbreaking setback for a player who was eager to erase a down 2019 and bring the Broncos back to the playoffs. At minimum, the Broncos will place Miller on injured reserve, though he could still be brought back later in the year. At maximum, Miller is looking at a lost season.

If Miller is out for the year, the Broncos will be faced with some tough decisions in 2021. They still have the Super Bowl 50 MVP under contract for another two years, at a rate of $17.5MM in each season. With a $22.225MM cap figure in 2021, and an expected dip in the NFL’s overall cap limit, the Broncos may try to rework his deal, or cut him loose. If Miller is on the roster by the first day of the league year, he’ll have $7MM of his salary fully guaranteed. Releasing him before that point would save the club $4.125MM with $18MM left in dead money.

The Broncos will kick off their 2020 season on Monday night against the Chargers. They’ll be without Miller and, potentially, Bradley Chubb, who is not quite 100% recovered from his ACL tear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Sutton, Raiders

Clyde Edwards-Helaire will make his NFL debut Thursday night, doing so without the benefit of preseason carries. The Chiefs brought back both Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson to serve as his backups, but the defending Super Bowl champions considered a somewhat higher-profile RB2 option. A year after the Chiefs scooped up LeSean McCoy following his Bills release, they had interest in Adrian Peterson, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Peterson, who played under Eric Bieniemy from 2007-10 when the current Chiefs OC was the Vikings’ running backs coach, was interested in a Chiefs deal as well, per Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). COVID-19 testing and the team’s first game being on Thursday night nixed a potential partnership, Fowler adds. Peterson signed with the Lions on Sunday.

Ahead of the Chiefs kicking off the 2020 season in less than an hour, here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Broncos have already lost their best defensive player for the season, in all likelihood, with Von Miller opting to undergo an ankle surgery that will require a months-long recovery process. They now have their top offensive talent dealing with an injury. Courtland Sutton went down during practice Thursday, suffering what an MRI determined to be an AC joint sprain, Mike Klis of 9News notes. While Sutton will be classified as day-to-day, the third-year wideout’s right shoulder malady has his status in doubt for the Broncos’ Monday-night opener against the Titans.
  • The Chiefs made a few mid-level moves to bolster their depth chart this year, from re-signing wideout Demarcus Robinson and backup quarterback Chad Henne to adding offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Remmers. Kansas City, however, does enter the season with a thin cornerback group thanks to Kendall Fuller‘s Washington return and Bashaud Breeland‘s four-game suspension. GM Brett Veach confirmed the team considered signing a veteran early in camp but saw enough from fourth-round rookie L’Jarius Sneed and young replacement options Rashad Fenton and Antonio Hamilton to stick with the status quo, per Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Lynn Bowden Jr.‘s Raiders tenure not lasting until Week 1 represented one of this summer’s more surprising developments, but the team viewed the third-round pick as ineffective on the field and a potential red flag off it. A lack of explosiveness contributed to the Raiders shipping Bowden to the Dolphins, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, who adds the team was also concerned about the Kentucky product’s off-field approach — particularly after the team’s move to Las Vegas (subscription required). The Raiders ate Bowden’s $985K signing bonus to send the gadget player to Miami.

Broncos’ Von Miller Done For Year?

Von Miller suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday that will likely rule him out for the year (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). There’s no official word from the Broncos just yet, but confirmation is likely to come on Wednesday. 

[RELATED: Broncos Sign 15 To Practice Squad]

Miller, 31, was gearing up for his tenth season in Denver. Throughout his career, the Super Bowl 50 MVP has been lauded for his toughness and talent in equal measure. In the last six seasons, he’s missed just one game.

After a bout of COVID-19 in the spring, Miller quickly returned to his workout regimen with an eye on getting back to his old form. Last year was a down season by Miller’s standards – he registered eight sacks, his first season in single digits since 2013. All in all, Miller has 106 career sacks to his credit, trailing only Terrell Suggs (139) among all active players.

To make matters worse for the Broncos, Bradley Chubb‘s availability is still in question. As Chubb continues to work his way back from last year’s ACL tear, the Broncos could be down two top edge rushers for Monday night’s game against the Titans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos’ Von Miller Tests Positive For COVID-19

Broncos star Von Miller has tested positive for COVID-19, according to his agent (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). His agent says that the Super Bowl 50 MVP is in good spirits as he recuperates at home. 

[RELATED: Rams’ Allen Tests Positive For COVID-19]

Miller’s camp has kept the Broncos in the loop and the pass rusher plans to speak publicly on the matter tomorrow. Unfortunately, Miller is not the first player to test positive for the coronavirus. Earlier this week, we learned that Rams center Brian Allen has also been diagnosed with the illness. And, early on in the pandemic, Saints head coach Sean Payton tested positive. Allen is symptom-free, Payton has been cleared, and Miller appears to be in okay shape, but thousands have lost their lives to COVID-19. Miller’s diagnosis is yet another reminder to stay safe, practice good hygiene, and stay indoors whenever possible.

You fatigue real easy,” Payton said after his recovery. “I’d be up moving around, doing something, then you’d want to lay down again. That lasted three or four days. By the time I got the test results back I had begun feeling better. I had my appetite back.”

Miller, 31, is set to enter his tenth season with the Broncos.

And, as Denver 7’s Troy Renck notes, Miller has been dealing with asthma and chronic allergies since childhood. We here at PFR wish Miller a speedy, and complete, recovery.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Rumors: Lock, Lindsay, Miller

As probably the second-best decade in Broncos history concludes, here is the latest out of Denver going into the 2020s. We’ll begin with the team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock led the Broncos to four wins in his five-start rookie season, and John Elway confirmed the perpetually quarterback-seeking franchise will not be in the market for another starter. “Obviously he finished, did a heck of a job, won four out of five games and played well, but he still has a long way to go; he’s got a lot of work to do,” Elway said, via ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold. “We’re excited about where Drew is so, we don’t like to show our hand. But it’s unrealistic to say we’re going a different direction.” Lock’s rookie contract will give the Broncos flexibility they have not had in a few years.
  • However, the Broncos’ September restructure of Joe Flacco‘s contract will mean a $13.6MM dead-money tag if/when he is released. Flacco is not expected to be on next year’s Broncos team but does not want to retire yet. Although, Flacco would be open to a Broncos backup role going forward, video link via Mike Klis of 9News. Should Flacco return to full strength, he could be an attractive backup option somewhere. The 34-year-old quarterback will go through an MRI in the next month to determine if he needs neck surgery, per Legwold.
  • Phillip Lindsay became the first UDFA to start his career 2-for-2 in 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Elway said the Broncos will look into redoing his contract, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (on Twitter). Lindsay’s rookie deal runs through 2020, but UDFAs can be extended after two years as opposed to the three-year waiting period for draft picks. Lindsay, 25, is set to make just $660K next season, so expect extension discussions to commence. The Denver native would prefer a new contract this offseason, per Jhabvala (on Twitter).
  • Von Miller backtracked on mid-December comments that could have been construed as ominous, clarifying he did not want to leave Denver. And he will be part of the 2020 Broncos. The Broncos will pick up Miller’s option, Elway said (via Klis, on Twitter). The 30-year-old standout’s option — due by March 17 — calls for $6MM of his $18MM 2020 payment to become fully guaranteed, which would essentially ensure he will be part of next year’s Denver edition. Miller’s six-year, $114.5MM deal runs through the 2021 season.

West Notes: Miller, Broncos, Gruden

A few weeks ago, Broncos star linebacker Von Miller expressed disappointment and frustration at his team’s lack of success this season. However, the veteran was quick to clarify that he wants to stick around Denver for the foreseeable future.

“I said before the week, I’m tied to the Denver Broncos,” Miller told Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link). “It’s pro sports and we all know things can change here and there. But for me and my mindset, it’s a marriage and I’m not looking forward to divorcing anytime soon.”

Miller backed up those claims tonight, as the linebacker expressed optimism in the 2020 iteration of the Denver Broncos (via Jhabvala on Twitter).

Let’s check out some more notes out of the western divisions:

  • While the Raiders will soon be able to lure free agents to Las Vegas, the front office will have to do a better job of evaluating players if they hope to become a contender, writes Vic Tafur of The Athletic. Jon Gruden‘s acquisitions have generally been hit or miss, with Tafur pointing out disappointing deals for linebacker Tahir Whitehead and safety Marcus Gilchrist in 2018 and wideout Tyrell Williams and offensive lineman Trent Brown in 2019. On the flip side, Tafur did recognize the organization for snagging tight end Darren Waller and lineman Richie Incognito.
  • The trial date for the Klemmer-Wallace lawsuit vs Pat Bowlen trustees has been set for September 1st, tweets Mike Klis of 9News in Denver. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen passed away in June, and he ceded control of the club to three trustees during his battle with Alzheimer’s. These trustees were vested with the power to transfer the team to one of Pat Bowlen’s seven children, and Brittany Bowlen became the favorite to ultimately take the reins. But not long after her status as the frontrunner became clear, Beth Bowlen Wallace went public with her desire to own the Broncos. Bill Bowlen, Pat Bowlen’s brother, then filed his suit to remove the trustees.
  • We learned earlier tonight that Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is confident that he’ll play this weekend against the 49ers.

Broncos Rumors: Miller, Wolfe, Harris

Set for their third straight losing season for the first time since 1970-72, the Broncos did see their best player make the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. But Von Miller‘s postgame comments Sunday left some uncertainty about his future in Denver.

I don’t really even know what to say. I don’t know how we got to this point. I don’t know why we [are losing] like this. It’s tough,” Miller said, via USA Today’s Lorenzo Reyes. “I’m 30 years old and going out there with whatever issues I’m dealing with and still coming up so short. It’s tough playing nine years with Chris Harris and dealing with these last couple of ones, especially with the type of standard that we had when I came into the league. We went to the playoffs five years straight.

“I know I’m getting ahead of myself, and I’m talking about more than just a game, but this is tough. I’m really lost for words.”

Miller said Tuesday he does not want to leave the Broncos “at all” but was expressing frustration about the situation the team resides, per Troy Renck of Denver7. The Broncos won at least 12 games in each of Peyton Manning‘s four seasons but have failed to win 10 in a season since. Miller has two seasons remaining on his six-year, $114.5MM contract; they are option years at $17.5MM apiece. The Broncos have until the final day of the 2019 and ’20 league years to pick up those respective options.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Derek Wolfe has made progress since an elbow dislocation ended his season. The eighth-year defensive end did not require surgery, via Renck. While John Elway said he plans to keep Simmons in Denver, Wolfe told Renck no contract discussions have occurred between his camp and the Broncos. One of four Super Bowl 50 starters left with the Broncos, Wolfe would like to stay in Denver on a third contract. The Broncos have Wolfe, Chris Harris, Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris as free agents-to-be.
  • Chris Harris has said he plans to test the market, which he did not do on what would have been his first free agency go-round four years ago, but would like to stay with the Broncos. There’s a “very good chance” Harris and the Broncos work something out to keep him in Denver, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post writes. Though the 30-year-old defender has endured an up-and-down season, in being the rare cornerback to travel with No. 1 wideouts, the four-time Pro Bowler remains Denver’s top corner. No known discussions have occurred between Harris and the Broncos since his summer pay raise, but some support exists in the building to extend the ninth-year player.
  • Kareem Jackson will not return for the Broncos until 2020. The best of the team’s high-priced free agent haul received a two-game suspension Tuesday.

AFC Rumors: OBJ, Patriots, Miller, Raiders

Closing out the worst season of his six-year career, from a per-game production standpoint, Odell Beckham Jr. did not say whether he wants to be part of the 2020 Browns. He’s under contract through 2023.

I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here,” Beckham said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, adding that Jarvis Landry‘s presence has energized him about being with the Browns. “This is exactly where I’m at now and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. God has a plan. In the offseason, everything will figure itself out. I feel like I’ve been here before, answering questions about the next team when I’m on a team already. That’s just something I’m going to tune out for right now. Catch me in the offseason and we’ll see what happens.”

Despite Beckham’s disappointing year, the Browns will surely attempt to see if their recent trade acquisition can build chemistry with Baker Mayfield and bounce back in 2020. Beckham’s contract having no more guaranteed money on it, thanks to the Giants taking that on, would make the three-time Pro Bowler an interesting trade piece — if this situation did progress to that point. Beckham is due $14MM in 2020.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Tom Brady sought a longer commitment from the Patriots this year, but given one-year pay bump the sides agreed on, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran expects the iconic quarterback to depart in 2020. Brady’s age figures to be a sticking point for Bill Belichick signing off on a multiyear deal, per Curran, just as it seemed to be in recent years. A scenario where Brady tries to play until age 45 elsewhere would obviously create a major need for the Pats, who traded Brady’s would-be heir apparent to the 49ers two years ago, and would thrust them to the center of what will be a complicated QB marketplace.
  • As for Antonio Brown coming back to the Patriots to aid the defending Super Bowl champions’ receiving situation, that seems next to impossible. The free agent wide receiver shared a social media post (Twitter link) questioning Robert Kraft‘s desire to win (and one that referenced his alleged acts in the Florida spa sting). Brown, who has filed grievances against the Patriots, figures to be one of the most controversial free agents in NFL history in 2020.
  • Von Miller is battling an MCL sprain, one that forced him to miss his first game since he suffered an ACL tear in December 2013. The Broncos‘ star pass rusher is iffy for Sunday’s game against the Texans. The ninth-year linebacker indicated (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, subscription required) he should not play until he can utilize his array of pass-rushing moves, pointing to him missing at least one more week.
  • The Raiders worked out tight ends Matt Flanagan, Pharoah McKever and Bryce Williams this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Oakland also auditioned tight end Cole Wick, who booked the emergency tight end gig.

AFC Notes: Jackson, Miller, Fitzpatrick

Former Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and the Ravens released a statement denying a report by Michael Lombardi of The Athletic claiming Mornhinweg wanted to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver. Jackson, of course, was the subject of much debate as a draft prospect with many pundits, including ESPN’s Bill Polian, calling for a position change to wide receiver.

Jackson, however, remained adamant that he was a quarterback, was selected in the first round by Baltimore and has taken the NFL by storm over the past two seasons. Mornhinweg, who was replaced by Greg Roman as the team’s offensive coordinator entering this season, made clear in his statement that “My thoughts before the draft, and even more when we started working with Lamar, was that this young man was going to be a special quarterback.” Regardless of what his opinions were at the time, Jackson has proven he is an NFL signalcaller.

Here’s more notes from around the AFC:

  • The Broncos were deflated after blowing a 20-0 lead in their 27-23 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. To try and help team moral, all-pro linebacker Von Miller organized a team dinner just a couple hours after landing back in Denver, according to Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. Per Newman’s report, the dinner was a resounding success. Players brought their family members and seemed to rebound from their loss and get ready for another week.
  • Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told reporters that Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain Miami’s starting quarterback this week against the Browns, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Flores, however, would not rule out the possibility of backup quarterback Josh Rosen retaking the job from Fitzpatrick at some point this season.