In the 2011 NFL draft, Cam Newton was selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers. In his fifth season, Newton was voted the league MVP en route to leading his Panthers to Super Bowl 50. Carolina finished the regular season at 15-1 record with the number one ranked offense in the NFL. The player drafted second behind Newton out of Texas A&M University was a huge reason why Denver ended up winning this past Super Bowl, 24-10.
Von Miller, the 2016 Super Bowl MVP finally got his long awaited recognition as being one of the best defensive players in the league. He received a brand new 6-year $114 million dollar contact, 73 million of that is guaranteed. That contract just happens to be the most for any defensive player in NFL history.
A one man wrecking crew in this years playoff, quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisberger saw a lot of number 58 in their backfield. Quarterbacks in general, specifically in the AFC West saw a lot of Miller as he has accumulated 60 sacks in the 72 games since entering the league.
Miller deserves this new contract for his consistent harassment of quarterbacks on the field, but it was a pretty ugly contract negotiation process until it finally got completed. Miller received the franchise tag at the beginning of the off-season, allowing the Broncos to buy time to re-sign some of there other players. This process showed complete disrespect to their best player. Miller was frustrated and was willing to sit out the entire 2016 season if he did not get a new contract because he was not willing to play on the franchise tag. And quite frankly I don’t blame him.
One of the offers that was reported only accounted for $40 million dollars guaranteed, which was one million less than Albert Haynesworth received in 2009 when he signed with the Washington Redskins in free agency. At that time, Haynesworth got the largest contract with the most guaranteed. Yes, I brought up Albert Haynesworth to show you how much of a slap in the face some of these offers to Miller really were. Although I think John Elway is a great GM and has put a great team together in Denver, the way he and the Broncos franchise went about dealing with Miller contract negotiation was completely absurd.
At the end of the day it is a business and as a franchise you have to do what is right for the overall team, but you need to reward your most valuable player with the respect he deserves. Miller’s best skill in my opinion is how well he times the snap count. Many of his sacks happen right when the quarterback calls hike, never even having a chance to look down the field to make a play. Even if he doesn’t get to the quarterback, he creates such chaos in the backfield that everyone on the defense reaps the benefits.
Elway dodged a huge bullet this year, because without Miller, the Broncos would of had no chance of making the playoffs. Without a true starting quarterback leading the Bronco offense, it will be up to Miller to lead the defense in any hopes of defending their title.