Are Denver’s Super Bowl aspirations directly linked to Von Miller’s future at the franchise?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Denver Broncos deserved to win the Super Bowl last season. While Peyton Manning was below par, Denver did just about enough to secure the number one seed in the AFC and home advantage proved crucial once again throughout the playoffs. In the Super Bowl itself, Manning performed better but both defenses were at their very best in an incredibly conservative encounter.
And the Denver defense simply had too much firepower for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Ron Rivera’s men had blown most teams away in the regular season; losing just once in 16 matches. However, they came up against a superior Broncos defense on the day and the Panthers just didn’t have the answer for Denver’s aggressive front seven and ball-hawking secondary. In a way, it was THE perfect performance from the Broncos.
Let the confetti fall!
— NFL (@NFL) 8 February 2016
Despite winning the title last season, Denver aren’t currently leading the way at the top of the odds. According to 32Red Canada, on July 5 the Broncos were priced at 14/1 to defend their Super Bowl crown next season. After winning the showpiece event, a number of Denver’s main defensive pieces opted to test free agency in order to earn more money at another franchise – not exactly loyal but at the end of the day, money talks.
Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathon were both integral components of Denver’s Super Bowl-winning side last year but they will now play for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears respectively. Furthermore, they let quarterback Brock Osweiler go – a decision that was not universally accepted throughout the franchise. The youngster showed plenty of promise last season when Manning was injured but the Houston Texans offered him a better deal.
However, Denver can get over these moves. If truth be told, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is the key to their defense. Miller gave Newton a torrid time in the Super Bowl, recording 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, and these superstars are set to go head to head once again in the opening fixture of the new season in September. Unfortunately, the Broncos and Miller are having a tough time trying to renegotiate a new contract – especially as the linebacker rejected an incredible $114m offer last month.
For now, Denver have franchise tagged on their defensive star but Miller is looking to secure a long-term deal ahead of the new campaign. And you can understand why. Miller was quite insulted when the Broncos were reluctant to make him the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL and Denver’s hesitance could come back to haunt them at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Miller is widely regarded as the standout defensive player in the NFL. If nothing else, he is certainly as effective and important to Denver as JJ Watt is to the Texans. Miller is explosive and he has a unique ability to line up as a hybrid across the defence. He can play as an inside or outside line-backer and he can play as a defensive end – and his vast skillset makes opposing quarterbacks nervous about potential blitzes and fake coverage.
Having said that, Denver have lost key personalities in the past and have managed to bounce back; they could probably do the same if they lost Von Miller. Fortunately for the Broncos, it looks like they will be able to agree a new deal with Miller and they will have their stud pass rusher for the foreseeable future. And if they do, Denver have to be taken seriously next season – despite losing influential members on both sides of the ball. Von Miller is simply too good and too crucial to their chance; as highlighted in the montage video below.
At the time of writing, the Broncos are priced at 6/1 with 32Red and NetBet to win the AFC Conference; not beyond the realms of possibility if they keep Miller happy. A happy Von Miller means a happy Denver defense and pressure upfront will allow the likes of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr, T.J. Ward and Bradley Roby the chance to make plays in the secondary. Right now, Denver’s offense needs work but as last season showed, defense wins championships – and the Broncos defense is still looking red hot ahead of the 2016 campaign.