Troy Renck of the Denver Post now reports that the Broncos “are expected” to apply the exclusive version of the tag.
It’s not a surprise. With a non-exclusive tender for linebackers at $14.129 million and with the calculation of the exclusive tag currently expected to be $14.01 million, there’s no reason not to use the exclusive tag, since by rule it also would be $14.129 million. By using the exclusive tag, the Broncos risk an uptick in linebacker contracts with high 2016 cap numbers, which would drive up the exclusive tender beyond $14.129 million.
The risk of not using the exclusive tag is more clear. The Broncos would potentially lose Miller to a team picking low in round one that is willing and able to put together an offer sheet that the Broncos couldn’t or wouldn’t match, and that is in in turn willing to give up this year’s first-round pick along with next year’s to get him.
If the exclusive tag is used, Miller won’t be going anywhere. The question then becomes whether the Broncos will sign him to a long-term deal by July 15, or whether the player who sent five years getting to this point will hit the open market after his sixth NFL season — or whether the Broncos will tag him again in 2017, at a 20-percent raise.