Determining Von Miller's status dubbed Bills' 'biggest remaining offseason priority'

An NFL.com writer feels as though the Buffalo Bills have a big impending decision regarding pass-rusher Von Miller.
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 AFC divisional round game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 AFC divisional round game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody expected Von Miller’s tenure in Western New York to devolve as rapidly as it did.

It—to be fair—initially went off without a hitch; the NFL’s active all-time sack leader was an immediate game-wrecker for the Buffalo Bills after inking a six-year, $120 million contract with the team in the 2022 offseason, notching eight sacks through his first 10 games.

And then Ford Field happened.

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The pass-rusher tore his ACL during a Week 11 matchup in Detroit, missing the rest of the season and the first four games of the 2023 campaign. He made his return in Week 5—less than one year after suffering the initial injury—recording one tackle in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It would be the start of what was an incredibly underwhelming season for the then-34-year-old. He recorded just three total tackles and zero sacks, rounding out his stat line with a career-low 17 total quarterback pressures, per PFF.

His season was nothing short of a disaster. Once signed to be a game-changer, Miller was a non-factor, struggling to make an impact in a rotational role. He was even benched for the team’s Week 17 matchup with the New England Patriots.

The veteran agreed to a significant pay cut to stick around One Bills Drive in the 2024 offseason, lowering his base salary for the upcoming season from $17.145 million to $8.5 million. Reduced cap hit aside, some around the league feel as though Miller’s safety in Buffalo is anything but certain; NFL.com analyst Kevin Patra recently wrote that deciding whether the 35-year-old still has a role with the team is the Bills’ “biggest remaining offseason priority.

“Miller took a pay cut to remain in Buffalo this offseason, but even with $8.5 million guaranteed, he's no lock to make the final roster if the club doesn't see improvement from the future Hall of Famer,” Patra wrote. “Things move swiftly in the NFL, and Miller hasn't earned a Pro Bowl nod since 2019. In 12 games last season, he didn't generate a sack, earned 12 pressures on 164 pass-rush snaps and had three tackles. 

“The hope is that being further removed from his 2022 knee injury can get the edge rusher back into form, but it's no guarantee for a 35-year-old player. If Miller can't be productive in a rotational role behind Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa, it could be time to move on for Buffalo.”

Related: NFL Writer questions if Von Miller remains on Bills' roster for entire season

Patra’s analysis is sound, and while it’s certainly fair to question Miller’s long-term security with the team, his status is likely locked in for the 2024 campaign. He still projects as the team’s primary rotational defensive end, and cutting him after June 1 would only free up $280,000 in salary cap space, per Over The Cap—would the team realistically rather have a player with 123.5 career sacks coming off the bench, or marginally more financial breathing room?

The team could free up over $8.5 million in salary cap space if it were to trade Miller post-June 1, but given the statistics and factors we’ve explored in this article, it’s difficult to imagine a team willingly acquiring the veteran.

Buffalo hopes that Miller can reclaim some of his former glory in the 2024 season. If he can’t, the team can save $17.5 million by releasing him with a post-June 1 designation next offseason.


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Kyle Silagyi

KYLE SILAGYI