Exclusive tag for Von Miller may be no more than the non-exclusive tag

AP

As the Broncos close in on the possibility of applying the franchise tag to linebacker Von Miller, the question becomes whether they should use the non-exclusive version or the exclusive version. The non-exclusive version, which permits another team to potentially swipe the player in exchange for two first-round picks, typically costs less than the exclusive version, which prevents another team from signing the franchise player.

The answer for the Broncos could be made easier if the exclusive tag ends up being lower than the non-exclusive number.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the exclusive tender for linebackers — determined by the average of the five highest-paid players at the position in 2016 as determined after the restricted free agent signing period — is currently on track to be $14.04 million.

Last year, the non-exclusivefranchise tender cost $13.195 million. At least one estimate has the linebacker tender increasing to $14.1 million.

So how can the non-exclusive number be higher? The non-exclusive number comes from a five-year rolling average based on the cap numbers for the five highest paid players at the position and the percentage of the cap consumed by that amount. And the CBA ensures that a player given the exclusive tag will get the non-exclusive tender, if the non-exclusive tender is greater.

While the calculation of the exclusive tender won’t be finalized until April, the likelihood that it won’t be significantly more than the non-exclusive number points to the Broncos taking no chances with Miller and applying the exclusive version of the tag.