ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Von Miller’s contract talks may be amicable. They won’t be abridged.
The Broncos placed their exclusive franchise tag on the Super Bowl 50 MVP on Tuesday after Denver general manager John Elway and Miller’s agent were unable to agree on a long-term contract for the star linebacker who expects “peaceful” negotiations.
The one-year tender offer means Miller’s salary will be no less than the average of the top five salaries at his position. That’s about one and a-half times the $9.754 million he made last season.
Both sides are confident they’ll work out an extension before the July 15 deadline, however, that will make the 26-year-old pass-rusher yet another $100 million megastar.
“We’ve had productive talks with Von’s representation, and we’ll continue those discussions with the goal of making sure Von remains a Bronco well into the future,” Elway said in a statement.
No other team can negotiate with Miller, who led Denver’s destructive defense to a 24-10 victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl last month.
The outside linebacker who has 60 sacks in his first five NFL seasons was Elway’s first draft pick back in 2011, taken one selection after the Panthers made Newton the No. 1 overall choice.
Miller has said he expected negotiations to be friendly and the sides exchanged offers at the NFL’s scouting combine last week but were unable to bridge the gap by Tuesday’s deadline for teams to tag a franchise player.
The Associated Press left a message with Miller and his agent, Joby Branion, on Tuesday.
Miller made an appearance on NFL Network on Monday, and said, “I have never been franchised before, so I can’t really say, `Hey, I don’t want to be franchised. I don’t want to do this.’ I can tell you what: I want to be with the Denver Broncos. I want to be with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, all those guys, D.T. (Demaryius Thomas), I want to be with those guys my whole career, and whatever it takes to get it done I am down for.”
Miller said a day after his Super Bowl performance that negotiations on a contract extension won’t get acrimonious.
“Mr. Elway, he has played in the National Football League. He is one of the best (general managers) that there is. We’re here today because of him. I have people representing my situation as well and it’s going to be a peaceful thing. I am not really worried about it,” Miller declared.
Elway has called Miller the best player on the planet and said his maturity has allowed him to reach superstardom.
“I think it’s a compliment to him and the people around him with some of the things that he had to go through when he was younger. He’s grown up tremendously,” Elway said before Miller led the team’s victory parade in front of 1 million fans. “I think DeMarcus Ware has had a tremendous effect on him, too. He’s been a big brother for him and Von has responded. That’s why I’m happy for Von.
“We knew when we drafted him back in 2011 with the second pick, and I still say it … I haven’t seen a more talented guy, physically, than Von. It was a matter of him channeling all of his talents in the right way and I think you saw him do that this year. He picked up momentum, and the bigger that the game got, the bigger he played.”
Miller had 2 1-2 sacks and an interception of Tom Brady in the AFC championship, then had 2 1-2 sacks and two forced fumbles of Newton in the Super Bowl that led to 15 points for the Broncos.
That led NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to say: “What an extraordinary player. He played his lights out and led his team to … one of the best defensive performances in the history of the game.”
Although signing Miller to a long-term extension in Elway’s top priority, he also wants to keep quarterback Brock Osweiler and defensive lineman Malik Jackson in Denver.
Osweiler went 5-2 when Peyton Manning was sidelined by a foot injury. Manning, who turns 40 this month, is pondering retirement after becoming the first starting QB to win Super Bowls with two different teams.
Elway has also spoken with agent Pat Dye Jr. about clients Ryan Clady and DeMarcus Ware possibly taking pay cuts. Both are due close to $10 million next season.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.