clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Horse Tracks: Von Miller contract made possible by DeMarcus Ware

Without that move by Elway, the Broncos don't win the Super Bowl, the defense isn't as historic and Miller wouldn't be the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Good Morning, Broncos Country!

Lost in the shuffle of the Von Miller extension is the best move that John Elway has made in his tenure.

Most will think it was Peyton Manning, and you would have a great argument. But it's not.

This move happened on March 12, 2014. It was the final move in a defensive purge by Elway and the Broncos after the disastrous performance in Super Bowl XLVIII, and it led to what we've seen the last year. Heck, the last two years. And what we will, hopefully, continue to see in 2016.

That was when Denver signed DeMarcus Ware. Without that move by Elway, the Broncos don't win the Super Bowl, the defense isn't as historic and Miller wouldn't be the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

To put this in simpler terms: Without Ware, we don't see any of those things.

As most of Broncos Country knows by now, Ware is Miller's idol. Miller wanted to be Ware growing up in Texas. He still does. But as Ware has undoubtedly told Miller: "Don't be me. Be better than me." And Miller can.

When you flashback three years, it's a testament to the work Miller has put in to get here. The Broncos linebacker was one screw-up away from a year-long suspension. To say his career was in doubt is like saying Andy Reid bungles clock management. It wasn't "if," but "when."

Enter Ware into the equation. That's not to say Miller didn't start the process to right his career and life before that day in March of 2014, but it left no doubt it would happen. To wit: Miller is no longer in the NFL’s substance abuse program. At all. He’s no longer subject to multiple tests a week or faces suspension if he were to test positive again.

Far too often in the new age of analytics and stats, the real impact of a player is lost. While important in some instances, it's only a character in the story. How major the role becomes depends on personal taste.

Far too often in the new age of analytics and stats, the real impact of a player is lost. While important in some instances, it's only a character in the story.

The stats may not show Ware as the best move Elway has made in his five years in Denver as the general manager and executive president. Especially when you compare Ware's numbers to those of Manning's. In that instance, it's not close. And when you consider that PFM allowed us all to move on from Tim Tebow ...

But the signing of Ware carries so much more significance. As noted above, it made possible the incredible memories we now have. It helped a young man remain motivated to turn his life around and create the incredible memories he's made. It spurred a group of defensive players to go down in history as one of the best ever.

That's only the start.

The Broncos defense can prove last season was no fluke. That it will get even better in 2016, which allows the offense to improve and run the ball more effectively to keep the defense off the field. The end goal remaining back-to-back Lombardi Trophies.

As I wrote back in March, it appears Ware has turned his attention to Demaryius Thomas. The two took a safari in South Africa a few weeks after the Super Bowl. As I noted in the story, read into that what you may, but it's no coincidence after the struggles Thomas had last season.

Perhaps the lesson from Ware to Thomas on that trip: In the face of danger, you can still have fun. But you must have a clear mind to do so or you'll get eaten alive.

Thomas doesn't have far to look to see the impact Ware carries. Miller is now on the path to put himself in the discussion with Derrick Thomas and Reggie White. To solidify his name in NFL lore. To be better than his idol.

Without the best move in Elway's tenure, none of this happens.

MHR Hall of Fame

Don't forget to vote!!

Broncos Tracks

Elway held firm on Miller trade option |
This seems like Mike Klis covering his ass after leading the "sky is falling" movement the last few months. He even links to a story that he wrote saying a trade is a possibility.

Predicting the NFL division winners
Are the Patriots bound for another AFC East crown? Will the Panthers win a fourth straight NFC South title? Our NFL Nation reporters give their picks for the division winners.

Predicting the MVP in each NFL division - Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo, Denver Broncos' Von Miller
Which players in each division will prove most valuable by season's end? Tony Romo and Von Miller both received a few votes from NFL Nation, as did plenty of quarterbacks.

Broncos’ core group of defenders now under contract through 2019 season | Broncos Wire
The Denver Broncos defense is going to stay together through at least the 2019 NFL season. That's terrible news for opposing offenses.

Chris Harris knew Von Miller's deal would get done -
Chris Harris was on NFL Network and explained that he told the All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller to exercise patient in his contract negotiations. Miller's patience worked in a big way.

Depth will be key for the Denver Broncos safety corps | Mile High Sports
TJ Ward and Darian Stewart are two of the best in the business, but the Denver Broncos defense won't be the same this year if the backups don't step up.

What could Von Miller do with all that money?
$114 million is a lot of money ... What could Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller do will all of that green?

AFC West Tracks

Chiefs say they still want to keep Eric Berry - Arrowhead Pride
They’ll continue talking after the season. Either way, it's not a good look for the Chiefs. In fact, it's an awful look.

No deal between Eric Berry and the Chiefs: a failure for both sides | The Kansas City Star
Eric Berry and the Chiefs did not agree on a long-term contract before Friday’s deadline, and that’s a big-time miss for both player and franchise.

Khalil Mack congratulates Von Miller on Broncos monster deal: Mack could be next in line with Raiders - Silver And Black Pride
Friday, just ahead of the Franchise Tag signing deadline, Von Miller and the Denver Broncos got their long-term deal done. And it was a big one. The reigning Super Bowl MVP cashed in Friday.

Oakland Raiders, David Amerson reach a four-year extension worth a maximum value of $38 million
A 2013 second-round draft pick for the Redskins, David Amerson has played 14 games for the Raiders since being claimed off waivers in 2015, totaling 58 tackles and intercepting four passes.

San Diego Chargers stadium campaign begins - Bolts From The Blue
The first of many community meetings held by the Chargers to campaign for their downtown stadium plan happened today.

Chargers must allay doomsday fears with good faith pledge |
Chargers owner Dean Spanos must pledge to not burden city with any expense for new stadium. Broncos Country should hope this deal happens so we have a great place to attend the Broncos' ninth home game.

NFL Tracks

Winners and losers from frantic Franchise Tag Friday -
Von Miller gets paid; Mo Wilkerson makes mo' money; and Deflategate meets its end. Marc Sessler breaks down a wild end to the NFL offseason.

'Gleason' an emotional experience at L.A. premiere -
'Gleason', the documentary about the life of former Saints star Steve Gleason, premiered in L.A. on Thursday night. The emotional film left the audience with a greater understanding of the effects of ALS.

Muhammad Wilkerson signs five-year deal with Jets -
Muhammad Wilkerson has signed a long-term deal with the Jets, the team announced Friday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wilkerson will make $86 million over five years.

Deflategate: Tom Brady drops appeal, NFLPA presses on
Deflategate might not be over, but it’s a controversy that is clearly running low on air.

Tom Brady Has Ruined the Arizona Cardinals Opening Game - Revenge of the Birds
The game still matters, but the Arizona Cardinals won't get to show off quite as much when the season opens.

Ray Rice admits his NFL career is probably over | FOX Sports
If a return doesn't happen this year, Rice says it's something he'll "have to deal with."

Randy Moss on weed: 'The NFL needs to loosen up and let everybody live' | FOX Sports
Moss doesn't believe Laremy Tunsil's famous video shows any 'character issues.'

NFL's head of officiating says Dez Bryant still didn't catch ball in Packers game
And Dean Blandino is still wrong. Why is something so simple made so difficult by idiots like this?

James Brown returning to host ‘Inside the NFL’ on Showtime - NY Daily News
After a two-year hiatus, James Brown will return as host of Showtime’s "Inside the NFL," which debuts Sept. 6.

Former NFL RB Jahvid Best named to Saint Lucia Olympic team | NBC Olympics
Jahvid Best, a former NFL running back, will run the 100m for Saint Lucia at the 2016 Olympics.

An early look at the 10 players who could headline NFL free agency in 2017
Here's an early look at some players who are poised to get paid in a big way.