The Buffalo Bills signed veteran pass-rusher Von Miller to a six-year, $120 million deal Wednesday.
The former Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion has now fleeced Buffalo to a level unseen since Albert Haynesworth swindled Washington for a then-league-record $100 million over seven years.
Miller is a legend of the game, but in a time devoted to “chasing the bag,” his outrageous price point and $51.5 million fully guaranteed makes his bag look like the kid on Halloween who stuffed his pillowcase with every bucket of candy the neighbors left on the front porch.
Von Miller is Now a Buffalo Bill
Von Miller is an 11-year veteran of the National Football league; he played 10 full years with the Denver Broncos after being selected second overall in the 2011 draft, then split time with the Broncos and Los Angeles Rams in the most recent season. He has only missed 13 games in his regular-season career and recorded 126 sacks in 161 combined regular-season and postseason games.
Miller’s short-lived tenure in LA last season ultimately ended with a Super Bowl ring and impressive numbers (nine sacks in 12 games, including two in the Super Bowl).
The Rams’ midseason trade for the legendary outside blitzer was an all-in move and ultimately paid off as he, Aaron Donald, and Leonard Williams formed an unblockable trio on the frontline.
Miller publicly flirted with the idea of returning to a Denver team that is now projected to mount a Super Bowl challenge, following their acquisition of future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson.
On the surface, adding Miller to the Bills’ defense is a superb move; Buffalo is completely in a win-now mode and has been just off the mark for the past couple of seasons, so throwing a two-time world champion into the mix before the window closes is a tremendous idea.
However, the problem is not the decision to add Miller, it is the amount of money they devoted to him.
Buffalo’s Massive Gamble
Speaking as a fan of the game and supporter of players’ success, I am happy that Miller was rewarded financially for his exceptional professional career, but even beyond that, I am thrilled that such a tremendous person is receiving a contract beyond any other for their position and at this stage in their career.
From a front-office perspective, this Miller deal is going to be catastrophic if they do not win a Super Bowl— even if they win one next year, if he makes it to the end of the deal, it will be seen as a drastic overvaluation.
Buffalo has been investing heavily in its front-seven over the past couple of seasons; to be fair to them, they formed one of the best units in football last season after being in the bottom half the year prior.
Miller will join first-round picks Ed Oliver and Greg Rousseau, second-round picks AJ Epenesa and Boogie Basham, and newly-signed free agents Shaq Lawson, DaQuan Jones, and Tim Settle, on the line. He will also have stars like Tremaine Edmunds, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Tre’Davious White sitting behind him in what may very well be the league’s most intimidating defense.
The Bills could also do with adding some additional playmakers to their Josh Allen-dependent offense, but having an impenetrable defense is not a bad starting point.
So, this is the year for Buffalo. Every year that they fall short will be another year tacked on to the almost-33-year-old Miller, whose contract will not expire until 2028, the year in which he will turn 39.
For context, exactly three edge-rushers have reached 40 while still playing professionally: Bobby Marshall, who was 45 when he retired in 1925, Jim Marshall, 41 in 1979, and Bruce Smith, 40 in 2003. Miller’s contract suggests that the Bills think he is not only capable of joining this list, but sustaining his productivity until then, too.
The odds are stacked against the longtime Bronco, but he has a chance to prove the critics wrong— six years worth of chances, to be exact.
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