Von Miller’s best fits if Broncos release star pass rusher include Browns, Washington

By | March 3, 2021

The Broncos have a tough decision to make with eight-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Von Miller. Miller has given Denver plenty of dominant defensive play over the years, with 106 sacks in 10 seasons since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2011, capped by his MVP-winning performance in Super Bowl 50. 

But Miller missed the entire 2020 season with a dislocated peroneal tendon, an ankle/foot injury he suffered in a September practice. He also turns 32 on March 26. The Broncos, per OverTheCap.com, are around $42 million under the cap, but releasing Miller would give them $18 million more in cap relief vs. only $4.225 million in dead money. He also will be a free agent in 2022.

As a team still trying to rebuild with coach Vic Fangio and new general manager George Paton, Denver is reportedly leaning toward parting ways with Miller. Should that happen, here’s a look at his top landing spots as a potential NFL free agent:

MORE: Why did J.J. Watt sign with Cardinals? | NFL free-agency rankings

Von Miller’s best non-Broncos fits for 2021

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have a void for a starting complementary pass rusher for Myles Garrett after not being able to land J.J. Watt. Olivier Vernon is a free agent, with Adrian Clayborn and Porter Gustin as their next best options. Beyond the Texas A&M collaboration with a prime Garrett, Miller can be a key pass-rushing and run-stopping asset in Joe Woods’ 4-3 defense.

Cleveland is around $20 million under the cap and can create a little more room with some cuts. Miller is set to make $17.5 million in base salary in 2021, so his new deal can be a little under that annually with good guaranteed short-term money.

Washington Football Team

Washington employs Jack Del Rio, who was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator early in Miller’s career. So there’s a familiar connection there to try to land Miller as a complementary pass rusher to Chase Young, WFT’s No. 2 overall pick in 2020. The Football Team also has plenty of cap space, around $38 million.

Montez Sweat, Washington’s 2019 first-rounder, is versatile enough to play linebacker in hybrid looks and could be more effective as a situational rusher. Adding Miller would allow that, and Washington needs 4-3 defensive end depth anyway, with Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson as unsigned free agents.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are $18 million under the cap and facing the prospect of not re-signing either Matthew Judon or Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. In Baltimore, Miller could stay in a base 3-4 as an outside linebacker with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

Behind Judon and Ngakoue, Pernell McPhee is also unsigned. Miller would make a lot of sense as a veteran presence desperately needed for pass-rush production.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have a little more than $23 million available under the cap and hired Renaldo Hill, a former Broncos assistant under Fangio as their new defensive coordinator under Brandon Staley. Don’t sleep on Miller pulling a Chris Harris Jr. in going from Denver to this division rival, especially after Los Angeles didn’t seem to be too interested in adding Watt for its three-man front.

Joey Bosa is the stud on one side for the Chargers at now outside linebacker in the new base 3-4, while Melvin Ingram, who made $16.625 million last season, is a free agent. In a twist, the Chargers can move on from Ingram, who turns 32 himself on April 26, for Miller.

The reasoning would be this: Ingram is coming off an injury-marred season, too, and before 2020, Ingram made his first three Pro Bowls in succession in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 at defensive end. Miller would be a better schematic fit, especially because of his familiarity with Hill.

Miller has made plenty of money in his NFL career, won a Super Bowl and has most of the accolades a defensive player would want, on track to land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Should his time end with the Broncos in 2021, he will ultimately pick the best situation for him to rebound and keep playing at a high level. The four teams above are the easiest best fits for him.