Von Miller's days in Denver may be numbered.
The star outside linebacker who has spent his entire career with the Broncos is facing an uncertain future with the organization. Wednesday marks exactly one month until Denver has to make a decision on his contract March 17. The Broncos have the option of picking up his $18 million option or declining it, which would make him an unrestricted free agent.
And, according to ESPN's Dan Garizono, he expects the Broncos to decline the option. No discussions between Miller or the Broncos have taken place, according to multiple reports, although Broncos President of Football Operations John Elway made it clear in January that he wants Miller to stay in Denver.
"We’d love to have Von finish his career here," Elway said Jan. 5. "He’s been a great Bronco for a long, long time, and that will be one of the big decisions we have in the offseason. The goal is to get Von back and have him end his career here."
But this will be new general manager George Paton's decision and the likelihood Miller's time in Denver is coming to a close grows as each day passes. It should be mentioned, though, that last year the Broncos waited until March 13 to pick up Miller's option.
This year that seems less likely for several reasons.
Miller will be 32 next season and after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, the Broncos may not find Miller worth the $18 million — $7 million guaranteed — it'll cost them next season if they pick up his option. Almost no 31-plus-year-old edge rusher is getting paid that much. New Orleans' Cameron Jordan, who will also be 32 next season, is set to make around $20 million. Jordan, though, played in every game in 2020-21 and totaled 7.5 sacks.
If Miller is to stay with the Broncos, it'll likely be through a restructured contract, which appears to be on the table. This contract would probably have to be in the $13 million to $16 million per year range, as that's what older pass rushers around the league are going for. But the Broncos may instead opt to stick with Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed, both 24 and on rookie contracts. Chubb's and Reed's contracts combined are approximately $10 million less in 2021. The two combined for 15.5 sacks last season.
If the Broncos were to decline Miller's option, it would free up $18 million in cap space, which could go toward other signings such as safety Justin Simmons, who could potentially become a top-five paid safety in the league this offseason.
If Miller has played his last game in the blue and orange, he'll finish as one of the top pass rushers in franchise history. He and JJ Watt, now a free agent, are No. 1 and No. 2 in the league in sacks since 2011 — Miller with 106, Watt with 101.
Either way, we'll know the Broncos' intentions soon enough, as the clock is ticking with that March 17 deadline quickly approaching.