NFL

After Nearly $130 Million, Von Miller May Have Played His Final Snap in Denver

A challenging 2020 for Von Miller and the Denver Broncos just took the worst possible turn.

A few days before Miller and the Broncos opened the season against Ryan Tannehill and the Tennesee Titans, the All-Pro linebacker suffered a devastating ankle injury. The ailment is expected to keep Miller out for most, if not all of the season.

After nearly a decade in Colorado, Miller’s injury may have just ended his time with the Denver Broncos.

Von Miller is a Denver Broncos legend

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Von Miller and the Denver Broncos have worked together for nearly a decade.

Denver drafted Miller, a two-time All-American at Texas A&M, with the second overall pick in 2011. Miller won Defensive Rookie of the Year when he totaled 11.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and forced three fumbles that year.

In 2012 and with the Broncos now employing Peyton Manning at quarterback, Miller racked up 18.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and an eye-popping 28 tackles for loss.

Miller made the Pro Bowl both seasons. After earning second-team All-Pro status in 2011, Miller reached the first team in his sophomore season.

A suspension cost Miller seven games in 2013 and he only had five sacks in nine games. Miller then tore his ACL, an injury that kept him out of the postseason but didn’t stop him from returning with a vengeance in 2014.

From 2014-18, Miller recorded 63 sacks and forced 14 fumbles — averages of 13 and three per year, respectively — while never missing a game. Miller earned Pro Bowl honors every year and All-Pro nods in 2015 and 2016.

Miller won Super Bowl MVP when he had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Miller’s numbers dipped to eight sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 20 quarterback hits last season. All three marked his lowest numbers in a non-injured season.

Miller will likely miss the 2020 season with an ankle injury

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Von Miller’s hopes of enjoying a rebound 2020 season took a serious blow at the worst possible time.

During an indoor practice, Miller suffered an ankle injury at the end of the session. Miller, who has missed one game since the 2014 season began, is expected to miss the entire 2020 season.

The Broncos have not announced if Miller’s season is officially over, or if he will be placed on injured reserve with a chance to return later this year.

Miller had health problems earlier this year when he tested positive for COVID-19.

Has Von Miller played his final snap in Denver?

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Although the Denver Broncos likely want Von Miller to make a full recovery, there is a financial situations that all parties will need to address.

According to Spotrac, Von Miller earned over $108 million through his first nine seasons with the Broncos. Miller was due $18 million this year, which raises his earnings in Denver to $126 million.

Things get difficult next year, when Miller is due another $18 million. The nine-time Pro Bowler turns 32 in March and will be coming off a major injury.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk raised the possibility that Denver could part ways with Miller for financial reasons.

“Miller from time to time has acknowledged that, eventually, the Broncos may decide to tear up the rest of his contract and move on. With only one year left after a full year lost due to injury, cutting or trading Miller potentially will become a very real option for 2021.”

Such an ending wouldn’t at all be what Miller or the Broncos predicted. But the NFL is a business and Miller, for as much as he loves Denver, knows that by now.

Assuming that Miller returns to the NFL next season, he is an early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year. Whether or not that pursuit is in a Broncos uniform, though, remains to be determined.

All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.