By Terrance Turner
March 7, 2022 (UPDATED March 16)
Less than a week after implying that he would be returning to the Denver Broncos, linebacker Von Miller is signing with the Buffalo Bills. According to Ian Rapoport and NFL.com, Miller just signed a six-year deal worth $120 million. (The contract includes an average of $17.5 million per year for the first four seasons, per Rapoport.) Miller announced the deal on social media, saying that after a “lot of back and forth”, he’s now a Buffalo Bill. “Bills Mafia, what’s good?” Miller asks in the video.
According to 247Sports, “A three-year starter for Texas A&M, Miller posted 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss to earn Walter Camp All-America honors during his senior season in 2010. Miller also won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker in 2010. Miller was then selected by the Broncos with the second overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.”
Drafted by the Broncos in 2011, Miller quickly became known as a top-tier defender. Miller was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection during his time in Denver. In 2015, he logged 11 sacks and 35 tackles for the season. In 2016, the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, in which Miller shined with six tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and two quarterback hurries. He was named the Super Bowl MVP for his performance. Within months, he’d signed a six-year, $114.5 million contract with the Broncos, making him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He had another 13.5 sacks the next season, and was named to his fifth (and third consecutive) Pro Bowl. He’d earn three more back-to-back Bowl selections from 2017-2019.
But after several losing seasons, the Broncos’ fortunes declined. So did his. Miller tested positive for the coronavirus in April 2020. “I did everything I was supposed to do,” Miller told ESPN in a September 2020 story. “I was here at home. I’ve been here at home for about a month now, and I’ve probably left the house a total of four times. And when I left, I didn’t get out of the car or anything like that.
“I didn’t have any contact. I was just riding with my brother up the street to get some food. I literally took it serious, I wasn’t out and about. It hit me right here in my house.” Despite trying to take every precaution, Miller (who has asthma) still wound up with the virus, which he said left him “scared as hell”.
Miller suffered a season-ending ankle injury a few months later. Denver chose to let him go. On Nov. 1, 2021, the Broncos traded Miller to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a second-round and third-round draft pick. Miller was emotional after the trade telling reporters: “I’ve been here through the ups and the downs,” Miller said. “It’s always tough whenever you leave. I love all my fans. I love Broncos Country. When I said ‘Broncos for life,’ I meant that. It was an honor and a privilege to play here.”
In retrospect, it appears the Broncos did Miller a favor. He joined a strong Rams team already renowned for its defense, with defensive end Aaron Donald among one of the NFL’s most fearsome defenders. Miller proved his mettle throughout the season, performing at a high level even well into the postseason, which culminated in the Rams winning the NFC West division.
According to Yahoo! Sports, “Miller made an immediate impact with the Rams with five sacks in eight regular-season games. Then he continued to play well through the playoffs, including two sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals in a Super Bowl,” which came down to the wire but yielded Miller yet another ring. After a dramatic late-game finish, the Rams won Super Bowl 56. Miller and Donald were exultant after the win.
Initially, it appeared as though Miller would want to rejoin his new team to “run it back’. But early this afternoon, Miller sparked rumors that he may want to return to the Broncos. According to USA Today, Miller teased a potential return in his Instagram story, In the first story, Miller asks if he should wear “58 or 40” in orange and blue with a picture from his time with the Broncos. In a story right after that, Miller put a thinking emoji with the caption, “I wonder if they will give me my old locker back?”
Miller later tweeted:
He followed that up by posting this video on Instagram:
Why Miller would want to return to a franchise that traded him for peanuts is anybody’s guess. But it appeared that’s exactly what he wanted…until the Buffalo Bills came calling.
How the Bills were able to slide into home plate and capture a player who had just won a Super Bowl with one team — and who had just days before expressed his desire to rejoin another team — is beyond me. But apparently the pitch was successful. Stay tuned for more insight into how this deal came together….