Before we get to the laughable omission of Von Miller from this list, let's take a look at the other two Denver Broncos players to make the list. And no, Peyton Manning was not among them.
The premise of this list was to create the best 53-man roster possible while staying within the $133 million salary cap, which means targeting a lot of guys locked in under the new CBA rookie salary scales. Also, before you get yourself into a fit of rage, keep in mind that the San Diego Chargers were one of four teams no represented at all on this list. Ha. Ha. I was more surprised by the omission of players from the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers from the list as well.
The sole Broncos here happen to be the Thomases. Demaryius and Julius.
Demaryius Thomas would deserve to be on this list regardless of salary, but with John Elway seemingly willing to play hard ball with a Top 3 wide receiver in the NFL, Demaryius' salary is still quite reasonable.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos($4,700,000): Thomas is a beast who creates a mismatch every time he steps onto the field. He can be a threat on short routes, and he also has the vertical speed to threaten a defense down the field. I love his run-after-the-catch ability, and I like having big-bodied wideouts on my offense.
We too love his run-after-the-catch ability, Mark. We also love his domination of the famed Legion of Boom every time he goes up against them.
Julius Thomas had a breakout year, which makes me wary of putting him on a list like this. However, at a cost of a laughable $741,000 given the kind of breakout year he had, it would be stupid not to include him on a list like this.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos ($741,000): This is too good of a deal to pass up, and I believe Thomas can still develop further as an NFL tight end. He is ultraproductive with Manning and can continue to put stress on defenses with his size and speed. I grabbed him because of his deal, which may get reworked quickly but keeps him within my budget as of now. He is a steal at this price.
Steal is right. Julius wants to get paid, which probably means he will be harder to get locked in long term. I do believe Demaryius would give a little on the final amount if it means staying where he is comfortable, but Julius definitely has that Type A personality. I like it. Reminds me of Shannon Sharpe.
What about Von?
Let's forget that there was no Louis Vasquez who is comparable to some of the other guards on the list or Terrance Knighton who would have been the cheapest defensive tackle on the list. I mean, seriously? Pot Roast is an animal inside. No, let's talk about Von Miller.
Von Miller would have been the second highest paid linebacker on Mark's list behind Luke Kuechly. I would be hard pressed to say Kuechly is worth more than Von Miller, but its hard to discern given they have completely different roles on their respective defense.
That said, I doubt Kuechly would have a bigger impact than this: With Von Miller, the Broncos pass defense ranked sixth in the league according to DVOA and without him they were DEAD LAST. You trying to tell me Kuechly is that good of a cover linebacker? Yeah, didn't think so.
In fact, looking at the entire list of linebackers, I see a lot of Kuechly-like players and nothing like Von Miller. Aside him Kuchly, I'd take Von Miller over Vontaze Burfict, Lavonte David, Mychal Kendricks, Jerrell Freman, Bobby Wagner, and Malcolm Smith every day of the week and twice on Sunday!
What do you say Broncos Country? Do you see any way Von Miller at a steal of $3,238,688 per year not making a list like this one? In my opinion, he is a Top 10 player in the NFL at any position. It should have been a no brainer.