For the Buffalo Bills, losing out on J.J. Watt wasn't the end of the world

Von Miller is another outstanding pass rusher they could pursue and land in free agency.
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Just because the Buffalo Bills weren't determined to outbid the Arizona Cardinals for free-agent defensive end J.J. Watt, it doesn't mean they can't bolster their pass rush considerably in free agency this offseason.

In fact, no sooner did Watt announce his intention to sign with the Cardinals did the attention shift to Von Miller of the Denver Broncos.

If Miller leaves the Broncos, who remain heavy favorites to work out a new contract with him or use the franchise tag, the Bovada sports book in Las Vegas has listed the Green Bay Packers (+500) as the frontrunners to land him, with the Cleveland Browns (+550) and the Bills (+600) not far behind.

So what exactly would the Bills be getting in Miller, as opposed to Watt?

A player who on the whole has produced sacks with the same frequency as Watt but doesn't measure up to Watt's ceiling in other areas.

Miller has 106 sacks in 135 career games, all starts. Watt has 101 sacks in 128 games, but has led the league in sacks twice, tackles for losses three times and forced fumbles once.

Miller, though remarkably consistent and more durable than Watt, has never led the league in anything.

So Watt's best is greater than Miller's best. That much is certain.

Miller is more than worthy of consideration, however.

He has produced double-digit sacks in seven of his nine seasons. He didn't play at all last year after an ankle injury in training camp required season-ending surgery. But before that, he had missed just seven games over a nine-year span.

Miller was taken by the Broncos with the second pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Watt was in the same draft and didn't come off the board until the Houston Texans took him at No. 11.

At 6-3, 250, Miller doesn't have the wingspan to bat passes as frequently as the freakish Watt, but he's been outstanding in his own right, making the Pro Bowl seven times and being named first-team All-Pro thrice.

That's why Super Bowl contenders like Green Bay, Cleveland and Buffalo are far out ahead of everyone else when it comes to odds of landing Miller in free agency.

Coming to Buffalo also would require a bit of an adustment for Miller, who is used to playing more in a two-point stance as an outside linebacker in Denver's 3-4. In Buffalo, he'll need to put his hand on the ground as a defensive end in a 4-3, although the zone-blitz schemes employed by coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier could take advantage of Miller's coverage skills, which have netted him two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Point is, none of the differences between Miller and Watt and Buffalo's defense compared to Denver's is likely to scare the Bills away from turning their attention toward Miller if he comes free.

Because he's coming off the first major injury of his career, Miller also will bring an element of risk. He will turn 32 this month.

But he's been a super player who's played on two Super Bowl teams, winning one in which he sacked Cam Newton 2.5 times while forcing a pair of fumbles.

A big-time player who plays bigger in big games.

Hard not to like Von Miller.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.