ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) So much for Von Miller's prediction of peaceful contract talks this offseason.
An impasse in negotiations has uncorked the startling possibility that the Super Bowl MVP could sit out the 2016 season.
It's a remote possibility, to be sure, one that could harm his popularity and marketability that have skyrocketed since he wrecked the Carolina Panthers' coronation at the Super Bowl.
But it's an option should the sides fail to reach an agreement on a long-term contract over the next six weeks.
Miller has repeatedly said he wants to be a Bronco for life, but the sides aren't talking after Miller's camp declined to accept Denver's offer by Tuesday night's deadline set by the team.
Miller has skipped the Broncos offseason program, but he joined his teammates for their White House tour Monday and told reporters there had been progress in contract talks between his agent, Joby Branion, and the Broncos.
Thirty-six hours later, Denver shifted its focus to re-signing Emmanuel Sanders and Brandon Marshall.
Miller is expected to rejoin his teammates Sunday night when they collect their rings for winning Super Bowl 50, where Miller's two sack-strips of Cam Newton led to both of Denver's touchdowns in its 24-10 win.
Brock Osweiler, who skipped the visit with President Barack Obama because he was attending OTAs with his new team, the Houston Texans, won't attend the ring ceremony, Texans spokeswoman Amy Palcic said Thursday.
It was Osweiler's departure for a four-year, $72 million deal, followed by the drafting of Paxton Lynch, that gave general manager John Elway the flexibility to pay Miller ''quarterback'' money.
Lynch's agent finalized a four-year, approximately $9.5 million deal Thursday that included a $5.1 million signing bonus.
The league's collective bargaining agreement gives teams until July 15 to work out long-term contracts with franchised players such as Miller.
''I'm still optimistic,'' coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. ''Negotiations are part of the business.''
If the deadline passes without an agreement, Miller has two options:
-He could sign his $14.129 million tender and play this season on the one-year deal. But the Broncos could place their exclusive franchise tag on him again next year.
-He could sit out 2016, forgoing a season in his prime in the hopes he could make up the lost income next year, when the Broncos would only be able to put a non-exclusive franchise tag on him. That would allow other teams - such as his hometown Dallas Cowboys - to offer him a bigger deal that Denver might not match.
Miller's camp agreed to the parameters of the Broncos' proposal - $114.5 million over six years - that would have made him the NFL's highest-paid non-quarterback. But they wanted more guaranteed money.
The proposal included $38.5 million guaranteed in the first two years, plus $1.3 million in workout bonuses, along with a possibility of another $19.5 million that wouldn't kick in until the third year.
The total value of Denver's offer topped Ndamukong Suh's six-year, $114.375 million deal with the Dolphins in 2015. Suh's deal includes nearly $59.955 million guaranteed, although almost half of that is in the form of roster bonuses over the final three years.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus leads all non-QBs with $60 million guaranteed in his six-year, $96.5 million deal he signed in Buffalo last year. And pass-rusher Olivier Vernon signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the New York Giants this year that includes $52.5 million guaranteed.
In addition to Miller's contract stalemate, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has missed offseason practices because of a bad back and Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib is sidelined after being shot in his right leg in Dallas over the weekend.
All the drama hasn't dampened Denver's expectations, though.
''That's our goal, to be the best,'' defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. ''Certainly last year's team would be hard to repeat. The only thing better than winning the Super Bowl is winning another one.''
That task becomes much harder if Miller is not around leading the charge.
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