Von Miller isn't going anywhere ... at least for one more year.
The outside linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP, who has 106 sacks in 135 games as a Bronco, is staying in Denver for an 11th year, it was announced Tuesday. The news came after the Broncos picked up his $18 million option entering the final year of a six-year, $114.5 million contract he signed in July 2016.
"I have totally bought into being a Coloradan for life, let alone a Denver Bronco," Miller said in a statement on Instagram. "I want to be here forever through the thick, the thin, the Super Bowl seasons, the losing seasons. I want to be here forever."
If the Broncos would have not picked up his option, Miller would have become an unrestricted free agent and his historic career in Denver would have likely been over.
To some, the news may come as a bit of a surprise to some, with Miller missing the 2020 season due to a season-ending ankle injury combined with him soon turning 32 years old, making him one of the oldest pass rushers in the NFL to be paid an average base salary around $18 million. Only Chicago's Khalil Mack, 30, is being paid more as a 30-plus-year-old edge rusher, with $23.5 million per year, according to OverTheCap. With Tuesday being the deadline for the Broncos to pick up his option, the sides discussed restructuring his contract but were unable to come to a solution, leaving many to speculate that Miller may be on his way out.
But since he was hired in January, general manager George Paton has made it clear he wanted Miller to stay in Denver.
"We want to bring Von back and we’re still working through that," Paton said March 4. "I don’t want to get into everything, but we want to bring him back. We do want Von back.”
In 2019, Miller's last season in which he was healthy, he totaled 46 tackles, eight sacks and zero forced fumbles. Compared to his previous eight seasons (2011-2018), in which he averaged 55.5 tackles, 12.25 sacks and 1.13 forced fumbles. Despite the decline in production, many inside the organization believed Miller was poised for a big season in 2020 before injuring his ankle.
"My own personal feelings, I was sad, when (the injury) happened, for a lot of reasons," coach Vic Fangio said in September. "One, mainly for Von, because Von has had a hell of an offseason. He was of a mindset where he was going to come out and have a hell of a season."
Now, with Miller back and seemingly healthy for next season, the hope is that he and Bradley Chubb can become one of the best pass rushing duos in the NFL.
"Von proved that nobody in this league can block him one-on-one, he can have his way and do whatever he wants in this league and get sacks on whoever he wants," Chubb said Jan. 1. "He the prototypical outside linebacker, so I feel like with a guy like that, we can show what we can do. Unfortunately, these past two years, these injuries have taken away from us as an organization. With us on the field, it’s going to be huge."
Miller's contract will count approximately $22.225M against the cap in 2021. His return comes after the Broncos re-signed defensive tackle Shelby Harris to a three-year, $27 million deal and signed free agent Washington cornerback Ronald Darby to a three-year, $30 million contract Monday, filling some holes on defense. But they also lost veteran safety Kareem Jackson, who declined a pay cut to stay in Denver, and likely running back Phillip Lindsay who was given an original-round tender.
According to 9News, Miller was also offered a pay cut and declined. Still, the Broncos wanted Miller in Denver. With Miller coming back, Harris re-signing, Jackson leaving and Darby joining the roster, the Broncos have around $26 million left in cap space to use.