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NFL Free Agency 2016: Lamar Miller could fit into the Broncos long term plans

With Free Agency only a few weeks away, we will be doing free agent profiles on certain players who we think would be great additions to the Denver Broncos.

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We already have covered the Broncos free agents pretty well over the last few weeks, so let's take a look at the other free agents the Broncos could cover this offseason.

Running back Lamar Miller

Name: Lamar Miller
Position: Running back
Height: 5'10"   Weight: 225
Age: 24   Experience: 4th 
College: Miami

Running back Lamar Miller was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Miller played his college ball in Miami so it was an easy transition for the talented running back.

He went on to struggle his rookie season. He only had 51 total carries for 250 yards. He went on to top 700+ yards during his next three seasons and combined for 18 total touchdowns.

His best season with the Dolphins came in 2014 where he totaled 1,099 yards and 8 touchdowns that season. He also added 38 receptions for 275 yards and 1 touchdown.

During his career with the Miami Dolphins, Miller has totaled 2,930 yards rushing, 4.6 yards per carry, 19 touchdowns, and 22 carries over 20 yards. He also has 117 receptions for 887 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Not too bad for a guy who only topped 200 carries once in his career.

Broncos running back situation

When you have Gary Kubiak as your Head Coach, you can expect that team to have a very good run game. However, that really wasn't the case with the 2015 Denver Broncos. They finished 17th in total rushing yards this past season. That's a pretty disappointing outcome from a unit that was expected to be at least 10 in yards.

C.J Anderson was the Broncos starter in the beginning of the season, but offensive line issues and injury woes really limited his play. Eventually, running back, Ronnie Hillman surpassed Anderson on the depth chart during the middle part of the season. Hillman went on to play okay but really didn't distance himself from Anderson. Eventually, Anderson began to outplay Hillman as the season went on.

Once the Broncos entered the postseason, Anderson's game picked up while Hillman really struggled. Things changed prior to Super Bowl 50 when it was reported that C.J. Anderson would get the start, not Hillman. Anderson went on to be the Broncos best offensive player that night and scored the game-sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Now heading into the 2016 season, both Ronnie Hillman(UFA) and C.J. Anderson(RFA) are free agents. It's very unlikely that the Broncos will try to re-sign Hillman after that disappointing postseason showing. So I expect him to move on this offseason. Anderson is a restricted free agent, so expect the Broncos to place a tender on him and that he will be back with the team.

Why Lamar Miller is a good fit for the Broncos

I really think his skill set fits very well into Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. He is explosive, can make people miss, runs with power, and is a weapon in the passing game. He can run inside between the tackles or he can bounce it outside and run down the sideline.

He really reminds me of former Denver Broncos running back Clinton Portis. A big reason why I would love to see him with Gary Kubiak.

There is a lot to like about Miller. He is still very young, has only topped 200 carries once in his career, and had plenty of success this season behind a terrible Miami Dolphins offensive line.

I think he would be the perfect complement to C.J. Anderson. Anderson is more of a power runner, while Miller has a blend of speed and power. Pairing these two would give the Broncos one of the better running back duos in the NFL.

Also, with the Broncos likely going with an inexperienced quarterback(likely Brock Osweiler), having a strong run game would be key for this team. Combine that with the team's top ranked defense and you have a recipe for big time success.

Pro Football Focus ranked Lamar Miller as their 34th overall free agent this offseason. Here is what they had to say about the explosive running back.

For the second-straight year, Miller was effective in the ground game despite running behind one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the league. At 24-years-old and having averaged fewer than 200 rush attempts over the last three seasons, Miller should have several good years ahead of him.

With the Broncos looking to be more explosive on offense next season, I could see them showing interest in the explosive Lamar Miller.


How much will Miller cost?

While Miller doesn't have top rate production during his career, his age, lack of carries, and ability should make him a popular target once Free Agency opens up.

It has been reported that Miller will command roughly five million dollars per year on the free agent market.

Industry insiders estimate Miller, who averaged 893 yards, six touchdowns and 4.6 yards per attempt from 2013-2015, will command a contract that pays roughly $5 million a year. That would put him at the top of the second tier of NFL running backs, which seems reasonable, considering he has a clean medical history and is one of the league’s most efficient runners.

I could see him getting a little more than what the Giants gave running back Shane Vereen last offseason. He signed a three-year, $12,350,000 dollar deal last offseason that includes $4,750,000 in fully guaranteed money. This deal averages out to be about $4,116,667 per year.

Final thoughts

Every offseason I push for the Broncos to add a running back in free agency or early in the draft. I pushed for Todd Gurley last year, was a big Eddie Lacy fan, and pushed for the Broncos to draft Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, or Christine Michael in the 2012 draft.

None of those happened, but I think this is the year John Elway invests in a running back. We're going to be a run-first offense with an inexperienced quarterback under the center. You need a strong run game when you have an offense like that.

I know many of you will probably be against this, and will just say the Broncos should draft a late round back. Kubiak has had success doing just that in the past, but I think they should invest in a running back this offseason.

What do you think Broncos Country?