According to 9News’ Mike Klis, the Broncos will pick up Von Miller’s team option for the 2021 season.
The Broncos will exercise the $7 million guarantee option on Von Miller's $18 million salary for 2021, per source. Von stays. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 16, 2021
Miller was set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NFL career if the Broncos did not pick up the option. Klis has reported the Broncos did approach Miller about a pay cut and that he did not agree to it. This is probably why the decision to pick up his option took so long.
In the end, Paton’s decision came down to this: He believes Miller is still a very good player. While $18 million cash and a $22.225 million cap hit may have seemed steep a couple days ago, it didn’t after eight pass rushers — none of whom are as accomplished as Miller — agreed to contracts that ranged from $13 million per year to Shaq Barrett’s $18 million per. The average contract of those eight pass rushers was $15.06 million per year.
In the end the Broncos new general manager decided Miller was too hard to replace. Retaining Von means the Broncos can still try to negotiate with the 31-year-old to either lower his 2021 cap hit or extend him on a long-term deal.
Per NFL Source: Broncos picking up the $7 Million Dollar Option on SB 50 MVP Von Miller. Still not certain what his 2021 salary will be, as they try to rework, or perhaps extend Von, but George Paton not ready to move on from the future Hall of Famer. #BroncosCountry @KOAColorado— Brandon Krisztal (@BKDenverSports) March 16, 2021
Counting playoffs, Miller has notched 112.5 sacks in his NFL career. He is also the MVP of Super Bowl 50. A lock for the Hall of Fame, there’s been some debate about Miller’s future since a freak injury ended his 2020 season before the Broncos’ opening kickoff against the Tennessee Titans.
In recent years, there have been some corners of Broncos Country unhappy with Miller’s production. He has 46 sacks since 2015, but finished with only eight in his last healthy season. Looking beyond the traditional box score, it is noteworthy that Miller has 237 individual pass pressures over this same time frame. Miller’s 63 individual pressures in 2019 was more than double any other member of the Broncos’ roster. Shelby Harris finished second on the team with 24.
By Sports Info Solutions’ charting, Miller has generated pressure on more than 14.1% of his snaps in three of his last four healthy seasons. The one exception came in 2018, which led John Elway to draft Bradley Chubb in the 2019 NFL draft.
Personally, I’ve thought the Miller decision a no-brainer for months. While there’s certainly risk Miller won’t return from his injury as the same elite player he was, he’s looked like the best potential edge rusher on the market all year. There’s a reason teams like the Cleveland Browns didn’t chase an edge yesterday. They were waiting to find out if Von Miller would be available.
Keeping Miller for 2021 is a calculated risk, but it’s also a great decision by George Paton