Reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller remains at an impasse with the Denver Broncos. The star linebacker has yet to sign his tender after the Broncos placed the exclusive franchise tag on him back in March, and the two sides remain in a stalemate in negotiating a long-term deal for Miller to stay in the Mile High City. With the deadline to sign franchised players to long-term extensions coming up on July 15, there is a sense of panic that seems to be settling in when trying to predict how this negotiation will shake out. With several weeks left and a history of Denver making last-minute deals, however, there’s no reason to worry about Miller’s 2016 status just yet.
There’s no denying how important Miller was in Denver’s Super Bowl run last season. The pass-rushing dynamo recorded 11 sacks and four forced fumbles during the regular season and added another five sacks and two forced fumbles (both in the Super Bowl) during the playoff run. His constant harassment of Cam Newton in the Super Bowl was a key to the Broncos’ 24-10 win and helped him secure the Super Bowl MVP award for himself (and the subsequent whirlwind of personal appearances that have stemmed from that).
That’s why the team applied the exclusive rights franchise tag to Miller back in March. This prevented any other team from negotiating with Miller and gives Denver exclusive rights to their star linebacker for the 2016 season. The designation would allow the team more time to negotiate a long-term deal with Miller while allowing a fallback plan of having him play under a one-year, fully-guaranteed, $14.129 million contract. It’s the same strategy that the team used last season when negotiation a long-term deal with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
As the offseason has progressed, however, talks between Miller’s representatives and the team have seemed to sputter. Miller reportedly turned down a very lucrative deal from the Broncos and negotiations have become icier in the aftermath of that decision. There are rumors that Miller could sit out the entire 2016 season that were only backed up by a recent Instagram post that stated there was “no chance” he would play this season on the franchise tag (one day after he said there was no chance he would sit out the season in an interview). Now there are reports that the two sides haven’t spoken since the beginning of June, casting some doubts that a deal will get done before July 15.
But if we look back to just last offseason, Denver dealt with a similarly tense contract negotiation with Thomas. The playmaking wide receiver had threatened to hold out of training camp and the preseason if he didn’t get a long-term deal signed before the franchise tag deadline and things seemed to be nearly as acrimonious as they are now with Miller. But the team got a deal done at the deadline, finalizing a five-year, $70 million deal for Thomas just five minutes before the July 15 deadline. All the noise and bluster leading up to the deadline was posturing that both sides were able to overcome when it got down to crunch time.
The same is likely to happen in this situation with Miller. While the two sides are talking tough, they all know that it benefits everyone to have a happy Miller on the field for 2016. With that in mind, don’t buy into the panic and expect to see Denver take care of business in regards to Miller for 2016 and beyond.