When it came to maintaining a strong pass rush in the Broncos’ defense, new GM George Paton had one player in mind.
The one who has been the cornerstone of the Broncos defense since being drafted to Denver in 2011.
“Von’s been a priority,” Paton said when asked about picking up No. 58’s option. “We wanted Von here since I’ve been here. We were going to try to do that any way we could.”
Paton acknowledged that the front office tried to get something done on the contract but couldn’t. Although he provided no details, signs point toward wanting to restructure Miller’s contract. In the end, the option deadline came before any agreement.
But Paton denies the market for edge rushers played a part in keeping the aging sack master.
“No. We wanted Von Miller,” Paton said. “We wanted Von to be a Bronco.”
Paton indicated that Miller’s age wasn’t much of a factor either, noting that some of the best pass rushers of all time have been “well into their 30s.”
“The tape I’ve watched, he still had the juice before he got injured,” Paton added. “Pass rushers are a premium and he’s special. He’s a special pass rusher. ...Von has been working and I think he is going to have a Pro Bowl-type season.”
Time will tell how a final deal gets worked out - hopefully sooner rather than later - but the GM is saying the right things to keep Miller, and No. 58 is saying the right things to stay.
In an Instagram post, Miller said he has “totally bought into” being a Coloradan and Denver Bronco “for life.”
“I want to be here forever. Through the thick, the thin, the Super Bowl seasons, the losing seasons,” he wrote. “I want to be here forever.”
But Miller wasn’t the only one Paton wanted to make sure he held on to.
Shelby Harris was also firmly in that camp - and had been a player Paton kept his eye on even while he was in Minnesota.
“When I was with the Vikings and we watched tape of the Broncos, No. 96 stood out—Shelby Harris,” Paton said. “He’s physical in the run game, he sets the tone up front, he’s strong, he’s heavy-handed, he’s a disruptive pass pressure, and, as everyone knows, he gets his hands on a lot of balls.”
Learning just before he joined the Denver front office that Harris was one of five defensive linemen with 15 sacks and over 20 pass deflections, Paton knew Harris had to stay.
“The thing that really sticks out with Shelby is the perseverance he’s shown throughout his career. He’s been with four different teams, he’s been cut six different times, and now, to be here as one of the best defensive linemen in the league is truly special. You love to reward guys like that.”
Shelby Harris said he’s talked with George Paton twice. His impressions?— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) March 18, 2021
"I just feel like we’re going to try to change the culture. We’re going to try to actually build on all of our success that we’ve had, fix all the wrongdoing that we did last year."https://t.co/1aIumH8dhO
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