The MVP of Super Bowl 50 is coming to the Buffalo Bills. Von Miller surprised his suitors, the Rams and Cowboys, on Wednesday night by going in a other direction altogether. He joins a completely revamped defensive line that looks to terrorize the NFL in 2022. Coming off the second Super Bowl title of his career, Miller is ready to chase more rings over the next six years of his Hall of Fame-calibre career.
Don’t let the numbers scare you, the contract isn’t as damaging as it looks. Whilst it puts Miller under contract for the next six seasons, the truth is that it won’t stay that way. The guarantees work like this: The Buffalo Bills have committed $51.1M to Von Miller when his pen hits the paper. Looking at the avoidable money, this can become a three-year, $53M deal, with a clean escape once the third year is up.
Miller is turning 33, and it’s unlikely that he plays a full NFL season at 38 years old. Realistically we could see a few seasons of Miller mania, then an amicable end to one of the greatest defensive careers of this era, and Buffalo would be walking off with a nearly-unscathed salary cap from that year onward.
What He Brings To Buffalo
Now, lets start with what we know. Miller is a versatile, talented veteran with as much experience as anyone still performing at a high level. Despite him stacking up 9.5 sacks between the Denver Broncos and L.A. Rams in 2021/22, there is a concern that his best years are behind him. That may be true, but he has plenty of gas still in the tank, if recent history teaches us anything. Miller hasn’t missed more than two games in a season since 2013, not including 2020, which he lost the entirety of due to an ankle injury. He bounced back well, as evidenced by his contributions down the stretch for the Rams. He’s been no slouch, adding to his total of 115.5 career sacks.
The Buffalo Bills’ defensive line plays in a rotation, but Miller earns his snaps like everyone else. He’s going to be getting plenty of opportunity, likely playing off one side of the line consistently as the rotation gets work across from him. Buffalo has invested a lot in it’s defensive line over the past two years, and the wealth of young talent in need of a boost may have found one. Greg Rousseau, Carlos Basham, and A.J. Epenesa are all names who could benefit from the guidance of Von Miller. By getting a big fish, we no longer need to invest significantly, and can redirect our efforts and resources elsewhere.
Von Miller is a finisher, and the Buffalo Bills have been great at generating pressure. Miller should benefit from the pressure induced by our current scheme, and we can expect plenty of quarterbacks to be force to flee from one lineman into another. The last pass rusher of this calibre in Buffalo was Mario Williams, and that comparison might not even be enough. That Mario Williams deal was the largest ever for a defensive player at the time, and Miller’s deal comes close to today’s record too. He’s going to deliver, count in it.