Von Miller says he won't do it. Good for you Mr. Super Bowl 50 MVP.
I don't blame the Desoto native for expressing his opinion that he will not play the 2016 season on the one year NFL "franchise" tag for $14.26 million.
The Denver Broncos have the right to tell Von Miller no to his contract demands. Miller also has the right to sit out the upcoming season, which he recently told ESPN he would do, "I’m not gonna play on the franchise tag. It just doesn’t make sense in any way."
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Miller's smart play is to sit out, because he can make more money and save his body from potential injury.
If he plays 2016 on a one year contract, under the NFL rules, Denver can "exclusively franchise tag" him again for the 2017 season.
In simple terms, he will have played 2016 at $14.26 million and his exclusive franchise tag for 2017 is estimated at $17.1 million meaning Miller would have played two years for $31.36 million. That's a deal for Denver.
Here's the easy way to look at this: An exclusive tag means any other NFL team that wants to sign Miller away from the Broncos must give Denver two 1st round draft picks in return. Teams place a high value on first round selections and almost always choose not to surrender two of them for one player. Non-exclusive free agents can be signed by teams willing to forfeit first and third round selections.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns or Indianapolis Colts would give up a first and third round picks to secure a dominating sack master like Miller who's not yet 30 years old? Yes, the would and they will if Denver doesn't get him locked up by Friday.
Miller would make more money by not playing under the franchise tag the next two years.
The shrewd decision from a financial standpoint is to sit out this season, forcing Miller's franchise tag to go from an exclusive one to non exclusive. Miller will not lose value, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole debunked that myth in a column on other players who decided they would withhold their services.
Miller will easily make $35 million in his first year salary by signing with another club in 2017. The Broncos only want to guarantee $61 million of a six year contract for the All Pro linebacker. Miller wants more.
If he becomes a non-exclusive free agent, several NFL clubs will gladly pony up $70 to $75 million in a guaranteed money to have him sack quarterbacks for their fans.
From a business standpoint, it would be foolish to play and risk injury to his body on a one year contract. If Miller and the Broncos don't work out a long term deal by Friday, the rules say the only thing Miller can agree to is a franchise tag (one year deal).
I don't want to hear fans talk about player greed or the other fan favorite argument that teachers, firefighters and police should earn more money than pro athletes. With all due respect to those respected professions, taxpayers in local communities can choose to raise their tax rates and up the increase the pay of their teachers, firefighters and police officers. I can get into a big column about tax payers continuing to give welfare to billionaire NFL owners for stadiums. That's for another day.
Brain injuries and long term body issues are real for NFL players. It is a one hundred percent casualty rate industry. Players will leave the game with some type of life long lingering injury. Armed with this knowledge players try to negotiate the best deals they can in sport that does not fully guarantee contracts.
NFL players despise the franchise tag even though the players union agree to allow it in their collective bargaining agreement with the owners.
Miller is a proven NFL star who led Denver to a world championship. Pay the man.
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning was very ordinary in Denver's Super Bowl 50 playoff run. The Broncos offense didn't overpower teams in those three playoff wins. In the Super Bowl, the defense held Carolina to ten points with Miller adding two and half sacks and forcing two fumbles on the biggest stage pro football has to offer.
The Broncos offense only scored one touchdown in the game and that 2-yard TD run was scored off the strip sack Miller created that gave Denver the ball at the four yard line. The Broncos only other touchdown was scored by the defense courtesy of another Miller sack and fumble of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
Miller led a defense that took down in order: Divisional Round, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (2-time Super Bowl champion), AFC Championship, Tom Brady (4-time Super Bowl champion) and Super Bowl 50, Cam Newton (current NFL MVP).
Anybody remember Denver did make it to the Super Bowl XLVIII without Miller who sustained a season ending injury in December of 2013? Denver got slaughtered in the Super Bowl 43-8 by Seattle. Manning was the league MVP that year after throwing a NFL single season record 55 touchdown passes.
The Broncos returned to the big game two years later with Manning on his last legs but had a healthy Miller. We know the result: they shut down the NFL's highest scoring offense and league MVP. THAT is why you pay Miller and end this foolish game of financial chicken if you are Denver's VP of football operations and general manager John Elway.