In a no-brainer move for the Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos have applied the franchise tag to Von Miller, according to NFL Media's Albert Breer. The two sides will continue to work on a long-term deal, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. Miller is an elite pass rusher who just won the Super Bowl MVP, and he is worth every penny to keep him in Denver for at least the 2016 season.
Miller has been a devastating force at outside linebacker since entering the league in 2011. He's finished in the top 10 in sacks and posted double-digit sacks in four of his five campaigns, including a solid 2015 regular season with 11 quarterback takedowns, 35 tackles and four forced fumbles. Miller passes the eye test, too, grading out as the second-best edge defender overall and third in pass-rush productivity, per Pro Football Focus.
He is coming off one of the most dominant back-to-back defensive playoff performances in recent memory. Between the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl, Miller racked up a whopping five sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles. He destroyed the Patriots' and Panthers' offensive lines -- who were no match for his speed, power and pass-rushing moves -- and forced two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Tom Brady and Cam Newton, into their worst performances all season.
It was no surprise that Miller was rewarded for this incredible effort by receiving the Super Bowl MVP trophy and nice big check from the Broncos. He is arguably the most feared and dangerous defensive player in the league right now, and his ability to pressure the quarterback from all angles makes him nearly impossible to stop.
Now that the Broncos have locked up Miller for next season, their next step will be to work with Miller's representatives to hammer out a long-term extension. The team has until July 15 to get a deal signed, or Miller will play the 2016 season on the franchise tag, which is set at $14.13 million for linebackers.
Ndamukong Suh is the league's highest-paid defensive player after signing a six-year, $114 contract with the Miami Dolphins last winter, which includes $59.995 million in guarantees. Miller will likely look to exceed that $19 million per-year figure, as well as the total value and guaranteed money benchmarks established by Suh.
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Denver's Defense: How Von Miller and the Broncos stopped Cam in the Super Bowl
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