Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller took to Instagram on Thursday to let fans and the franchise know that he will not play the 2016 season unless he and the Broncos can come to a long-term contract extension.
Earlier this month, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Broncos offered Miller a six-year deal worth $39.8 million in guaranteed money in the first two years of the contract (keep in mind, guaranteed money is the only figure that truly matters in confusing NFL contracts).
Miller rejected the offer, which seems wise in light of the mammoth deal defensive tackle Fletcher Cox struck with the Philadelphia Eagles — one of the richest ever for a defensive player.
If you squint a little bit, Miller’s situation with the Broncos looks like the one wide receiver Dez Bryant went through with the Dallas Cowboys last summer.
About a year ago, Bryant and the Cowboys were locked in the same game of chicken that Miller and the Broncos are now: One side wanted a long-term deal rich in guaranteed money; the other side was hoping its star player agreed to team-friendly deal, while wielding the franchise tag as a backup plan.
Bryant didn’t agree to the Cowboys’ first long-term offer, and when talks stalled, he also vented via social media that he refused to play on the franchise tag.
Bryant got his long-term deal at the eleventh hour. The Cowboys gave him $45 million guaranteed on July 15 — the last day teams can agree to multi-year deals with players they’ve applied the franchise tender to.
It’s possible the stalemate between Miller and the Broncos takes that long to get resolved, too.
Miller is likely seeking the most guaranteed money for a defensive player ever, and it’s hard to blame him. The 27-year-old racked up six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in Denver’s postseason run last year. He was named Super Bowl MVP for his constant harassment of Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50.
He understandably wants to be paid like one of the best players in the NFL. But like Bryant, he might have to wait until July 15 to find out if his team will do so.
As that continues to play out, expect plenty more passive-aggressive social media posts.