A now-three-game losing streak has once more called into question Von Miller's future with the Denver Broncos.
On Monday, in the wake of Denver's embarrassing home defeat to the coachless Raiders, The Athletic's Mike Sando made the case that Miller could be dealt prior to the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, returning precious capital for the franchise's ongoing pursuit of a long-term quarterback.
"The Broncos have lost three in a row after racing to a 3-0 record against weak opponents. Coach Vic Fangio might need a strong showing this season to secure a future with the organization, but securing a franchise quarterback has to take priority," Sando wrote in a piece released Monday. "The Broncos are, objectively, the worst team in a tough AFC West. That isn’t changing as long as they are putting Teddy Bridgewater types on the field against teams with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert or even Derek Carr."
Miller is the biggest trade chip on the current Broncos outfit, and if the organization is readying for an impending rebuild, first-year general manager George Paton may indeed deem Miller expendable. That, however, will depend on the future Hall of Famer's "value" to the lame-duck coach.
"To secure a quarterback, the Broncos need as much draft capital as they can realistically amass," wrote Sando. "Miller is a franchise icon, but he turns 33 in March, he missed the 2020 season to injury and his contract expires after this season. Are the Broncos realistically going to re-sign him? They need to investigate what Miller might return from a contending team outside their own division, although one evaluator predicted Denver would not subtract players Fangio values."
The Broncos dilly-dallied with Miller this past offseason before finally exercising his contract option, guaranteeing $7 million of his $18 million base salary for 2021. He's counting $22.125 million against the salary cap ahead of a projected foray into unrestricted free agency.
After an injury-ruined 2020 campaign, Miller has flashed shades of elite form, leading Denver with 4.5 sacks across six games. He's added nine solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, and eight quarterback hits over 297 defensive snaps (81%)
Considering the state of the Broncos' inside-linebacker corps — both starters, Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson, were lost to season-ending pectoral injuries — and with outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle) still on the shelf, it seems unlikely that Miller's time in the Mile High City is ticking to an immediate close.
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