The Broncos have said all the right things regarding the suspension of linebacker Von Miller, calling him a member of the “family” and vowing to support him.
That support also will include collecting from him more than $1.2 million in bonus money paid out more than two years ago.
It’s an odd quirk in the labor deal, which both the league office and the Broncos have told PFT applies in this case. For suspensions under the substance-abuse policy, the forfeiture of a prorated portion of the signing bonus becomes automatic and non-discretionary. Even if the Broncos don’t want the money, they have to take it.
Based on Appendix D to the substance-abuse policy, the six-game suspension requires Miller to repay 6/17th of the bonus allocation for 2013. At a total signing bonus of $13.773 million and an allocation per year of $3,443,250, that’s a forfeiture of $1,214,264.
It’s unclear whether the money will be withheld from future payments to Miller, or whether he’ll have to write a check for the amount. Since taxes already have been paid, his accountant will have to pursue reimbursement from the federal and state governments for payments already made.
Coupled with Miller’s lost salary of $806,161.76 (based on a full 2013 base salary of $2,284,125), his total financial losses for the six-game suspension will be $2,020,425.76.
While the Broncos should be able to choose not to seek repayment of the signing bonus, after the 2013 season they can choose to sign him to a new deal. And they can add $1.214 million to the final value of the new contract, if they want. For now, they have no choice but to collect that money from Miller.