Potential Von Miller holdout has an intriguing twist

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If the Broncos and linebacker Von Miller don’t strike a long-term deal by July 15, his best option could be to sit out the entire season and sign an offer sheet with another team next year, when: (1) the Broncos would be unable to use the exclusive franchise tag on Miller; and (2) the compensation for signing him away from Denver would drop to a first- and a third-round draft pick.

Already, there’s buzz that other teams have made their potential interest in Miller known, through the kind of wink-nod conversations that routinely happen regarding players like Miller, who are the sole property of other teams. (Even though Miller technically is unemployed, the Broncos hold exclusive negotiating rights with Miller, making him off limits for any discussions with other teams.) If Miller sits out the entire 2016 season, there’s already a belief that significantly more money will be there for him than what the Broncos are currently offering, even with a new team having to give up a pair of high draft picks to get him.

Why would a team make it known now that true market value will be available to Miller later if he doesn’t play in 2016? Even though the other team can’t get Miller until 2017, letting him know that the money will be there in March gives that team the benefit in 2016 of competing with a Broncos franchise that won’t have Miller at all.

Think about the 2015 season, specifically the playoffs. Would the Broncos have won the Super Bowl over Carolina without Miller? More importantly, would they have even beaten the Patriots to get there if Miller hadn’t played?

Promising, unofficially, a major payday to Miller in March operates as a figurative baton to his kneecap now, knocking him out of service for the Broncos as they try to defend their championship and, in turn, setting the stage for that other team to get him next year — and for that team to be even lower in the draft order, making the surrender of the first- and third-round picks less painful.

The other team doesn’t even need to eventually win the auction for Miller next year to derive a real benefit this year. Time and again, Super Bowl champions get dismantled via free agency. Given Miller’s current situation, there’s a way to dismantle the Denver defense without actually getting the player, now or in the future.

That alone could be enough to entice teams hoping to get past Denver in 2016 to discreetly promise that, if Miller doesn’t play in 2016, the financial reward definitely will be there when he qualifies for the non-exclusive franchise tag. For that reason, it would be naive to assume that there aren’t multiple teams making known to Miller that, regardless of what Denver offers on or before July 15, much more will be available in fewer than nine months.

18 responses to “Potential Von Miller holdout has an intriguing twist

  1. Yup, agents are all to happy to agree to let a player sit for an entire year on a verbal agreement. Because there’s no way an NFL team would renege a verbal promise right? Oh, maybe they would pinkie swear.

  2. Not a great strategy.

    First, he loses $14.1 million by sitting out. He can never get that unpaid year back. There’s an injury risk, sure, but he’d be foregoing a year in his prime earning years. He basically has to get $14 million more than the Broncos are currently offering to even make it worth his while.

    Second, NFL teams (mostly) aren’t dumb. They understand the value of a first and third rounder. Any GM with half a brain will factor that into his offer. He’s not going to get Suh or Vernon money if the signing team has to also give up significant draft pick value.

    Third, he’d almost surely be going to a terrible franchise. Look at the history of guys getting market-busting deals. It’s perpetual losers like Jacksonville who have to overpay because no one wants to go there, or terribly-run franchises like the Dolphins. Sure, you can say: what does it matter? It’s all about the money. And that’s fine, except it isn’t. Players care about legacy, and if the Broncos keep winning while Miller toils away in Jacksonville on a perpetual loser, his legacy isn’t going to be the same. And the fact the team he signs with has to give up a first and a third further undermines their ability to be competitive.

    Fourth, even if he gets injured in 2016, he’s still almost sure to get a nice contract. Most surgeries are now fairly routine. Suppose he gets paid $14 million for 2016 and tears an ACL. Do you really think he’s going to go unsigned? Of course not. He won’t get as much as he would have, but he’ll get signed. The chances of some sort of devastating injury a la Jaylon Smith are pretty remote.

  3. As a Pats fan, I’m all too aware of how good a player Von Miller is. The Broncos are in a bind due to the increasing salary cap; players who are inferior to Von are getting huge deals (special thanks to the Giants) so Von can use those deal as “market value.”

    Honestly, all teams would be smart to lock up their stars as soon as possible. The salary cap is only going to increase, meaning the average contract will too.

  4. I’d be careful using the Jags as your example, they might very well have a better record than the Broncos next year…. They certainly have a better qb.

  5. Raiders will have the pass rush in the NFC West next year with Irvin and Mack.

  6. BroncosCheatedTheSalaryCap says:
    Jun 23, 2016 6:15 PM
    Raiders will have the pass rush in the NFC West next year with Irvin and Mack.

    Oh, the lack of knowledge. Let us know when the raiders move to the NFC eh sport?

  7. There’s only one team that can pay $14.1 or more for 2016, something that shouldn’t be so easily discounted.

  8. This theory would require an awful lot of faith in Miller’s part. He’s going to sit out a year in his prime, lose at least 14.1 million and bank on another team keeping their word that they’ll sign hm to a deal better than the one the Broncis offered earlier. That’s a lot of ifs. Not to mention teams will try to drive his value down by saying he hasn’t played in a year. This is a severe reach.

  9. 14 now and the potential of that being all he’ll ever see OR $70M guaranteed next year.

    He’d be a fool to play this year without a long term deal in place. The rest of you shouldn’t quit your day jobs to be agents.

  10. Silly argument.

    Von Miller should sit rather than earn 14MM? Or the 19.5 MM the Broncos offered earlier?

    Von Miller will earn more by taking the Broncos pulled offer than sinning a year or part of a year.

    If I was Elway, I wouldn’t budge.

  11. The Broncos QB will put his defense on the field for so much of the game, they will be winded by the end of third quarter, allowing the opponent’s O to capitalize and bury them. Von might be better off sitting out the season as to not get lumped in with the Broncos’ record.

  12. BroncosCheatedTheSalaryCap says:
    Jun 23, 2016 6:15 PM
    Raiders will have the pass rush in the NFC West next year with Irvin and Mack.

    You might want to figure out what division you are in before commenting……

  13. Miller sez he wants to be a Bronco for life. If so, would he be willing to take a bit less to do so? There is a point at which some of these salary demands become ridiculous. I mean, 114 million vs. 165 million? Both are ridiculously rich! Football is a team sport and the Broncos have a lot of positions to pay for this year and beyond. Miller’s gonna make a ton of money regardless of the deal he signs. If he truly wants to be one of those players who stays with one team their entire career, maybe he should ignore his agent and go with his heart. Compared to 97% of society, he’ll be incredibly well off regardless.

  14. I’m a Bronco fan and love Miller BUT everybody is replaceable!!!!….He needs to understand that guaranteed money has to be managed wisely and that’s what Elway is doing……If Miller doesn’t like the offer then Elway should cut him, take that money get Kaepernick and sign a young and healthy LB ……GO BRONCOS

  15. Von is one of the very few players that I could see actually sitting out a year. He got his degree at Texas A&M in Poultry Management and has plans for his post career as a big time poultry farmer. He could use a year to get that all set up and start that plan sooner rather than later. He’s not going to be a guy that plays well into his 30’s. I’d bet that he’s just looking for one huge mega-contract, for 3-5 years, and then hangs up his cleats for the business world.

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