Von Miller and the Denver Broncos finally agreed on terms for a blockbuster deal that will make the Super Bowl 50 MVP the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. On Friday, Miller agreed to a six-year, $114 million contract with $70 million guaranteed for the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
It's the most guaranteed money ever for a defensive player and the second-most for all players, behind only the $87 million guaranteed to Andrew Luck at the end of June.
Negotiations between the two sides weren't always friendly, and Miller took out his frustrations on social media. In June, he cropped Broncos general manager John Elway out of a post on Instagram, and said a few days later that there was "no chance" he'd be willing to play the 2016 season under the franchise tag.
Elway smoothed things over by personally reaching out to Miller and getting the linebacker back to the negotiating table in the first week of July. The Broncos upped the amount of guaranteed money in the offer after initial proposals fell well short of Miller's expectations. Then the amount was reportedly upped again, with the difference between reports being $9 million.
Eventually, the two sides met on an agreement that makes sense for both sides. Miller was happy to confirm the deal on his personal Twitter account:
FOR LIFE pic.twitter.com/ayvzpJ1WZh— Von Miller (@Millerlite40) July 15, 2016
Miller, 27, was unsurprisingly hit with the franchise tag in March, preventing him from reaching free agency. The tag was due to pay him $14.13 million during the 2016 season, but Miller managed to up that number with his new contract from the Broncos that will pay him an average of about $19 million per year.
The new contract for Miller eclipses the gigantic deal given to defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh during the 2015 offseason. It makes Miller the highest-paid player ever at a position other than quarterback.
Miller was the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, taken one pick after the Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton. The two met in Super Bowl 50, but Miller got the better of Newton, finishing the game with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The first fumble was recovered by Malik Jackson to give the Broncos a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and the second was recovered deep in Carolina territory, setting up a game-clinching touchdown with less than four minutes remaining.
In his career, Miller has tallied 60 sacks, the most of any player in the last five seasons with the exception of J.J. Watt, who has 74.5 sacks over that span. Miller's total was limited a bit by a six-game suspension at the beginning of the 2013 season for violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy and an ACL tear at the end of that year. He finished the 2013 season with five sacks but has double-digit sacks in each of his other four seasons.
In recent years, Miller has emerged as a star both on and off the field. Just this offseason he was a contestant on season 22 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, stopped by The Ellen Show to talk about his charity that gives glasses to low-income kids and revealed that he's a chicken farmer.
With his new contract, Miller is going to be an integral part of the Broncos' defense for years to come, and that's something Denver fans will be happy about.