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What Will Von Miller Cost the Broncos?

With the speculation that the CBA is being finalized and the NFL Lockout is about to be lifted, we can turn our heads to other interesting subjects. Such as Denver Broncos top draft pick Von Miller's payday. The details have not been revealed, but we can go over what we know and use that as a jumping off point to determine the price tag of the #2 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. 

We know that as the 2nd overall pick in the Draft, Von Miller will receive a 4-year contract with a 5th year option. During that 5th year, the Broncos would pay him a salary equal to the average of the top 10 player salaries at Outside Linebacker, which is where the team has projected him. If the Broncos decline that option, Von would become an Unrestricted Free Agent after his 4th season.

We also know that this year's contract numbers will be lower for the 1st-round picks than it's ever been. That is one of the issues that has been contested in the Labor negotiations and it appears to be resolved that way. So now we must determine the salary for the top pick, in order to project Miller's money.

Andrew Brandt expects this year’s number 1 pick, Cam Newton to take home somewhere around half of what Sam Bradford, 2010's 1st overall pick will make. Bradford will make $48 million during the first 4 years of his contract, so that puts Newton at roughly $22-24 million for the same amount of time. It should be noted that both players are quarterbacks and will garner higher salary numbers based on the position.

Bradford's numbers per Rotoworld:

7/30/2010: Signed a six-year, $78 million contract. The deal contains $50 million guaranteed, including all six years' base salaries and a $2.88 million first-year roster bonus. Another $8 million is available through incentives based on playoff, Super Bowl, and Pro Bowl appearances. 2011: $405,000 (+ $17.974 million "signing" bonus), 2012: $1.205 million, 2013: $2.005 million, 2014: $2.805 million, 2015: $3.605 million, 2016: Free Agent.
Now we shall look at the number two pick from 2010 and compare notes. Last August, the Detroit Lions signed the 2nd overall pick, Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh to a five-year, $60 million deal, which included $40 million guaranteed and $8 million in additional incentives. 

Suh's numbers per Rotoworld:
8/3/2010: Signed a five-year, $60 million contract. The deal contains $40 million guaranteed. Another $8 million is available through incentives. 2011: $1.405 million, 2012: $9.25 million, 2013: $11.15 million, 2014: $11.55 million, 2015: $3.505 million (Voidable Year), 2016: Free Agent.
In his 1st four years, Ndamukong will earn $48 Million, with $8 Million of that guaranteed. Those numbers are pretty equal with Bradford's.

Let's go on and take a look at the 3rd overall pick in last year's draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pay Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy $50.736 Million over the first 4 years of his contract, with $7 Million guaranteed.

McCoy's numbers per Rotoworld:
7/31/2010: Signed a five-year, $63.42 million contract. The deal includes $35 million guaranteed. 2011: $873,750, 2012: $1,447,500, 2013: $2,021,250, 2014: $2.595 million, 2015: Free Agent.
Extrapolating those figures gives us a 4-year contract figure for Von in the same $22-24 Million picture that Andrew Brandt has for Cam Newton. I expect the numbers to be similar, but the dollars will be spread differently as seen in the 3 examples from above.

I would like to add a few more things here. 

Von is represented by David Dunn's agency, Athletes First. The agent who will be doing the negotiating is Joby Branion. A few days ago, the agent noted that Miller chose to return for his senior year at Texas A&M after leading the nation in quarterback Sacks as a Junior in 2009. The implication was that Von's family isn't hurting financially and he didn't have to jump to the professional ranks to help them out, like some other past players have needed to do.
"He went back to school last year. ... He's just not driven by the money. He's driven by the sport, which is rare," said Branion.
The agent also stated that with this new Rookie system, Miller could end up making more in the long run.
"You may not get what you'd like to start. But it may work better for you in the long term because you might get to Free Agency sooner and might end up with more money in that 2nd contract than you would have in the old situation." 
This leads me to believe that there shouldn't be any problems getting Von signed and into Training Camp when the time comes, which with any luck, will be very soon. I know I can't wait to see Denver's newest top pick in action.

Go Broncos!