ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Super Bowl MVP Von Miller practiced both pirouettes and patience this offseason.
While his dance moves didn’t earn him the title on “Dancing With The Stars,” Miller’s stare-down in contract negotiations paid off Friday when he signed a six-year, $114.5 million deadline deal with the Denver Broncos that includes $70 million guaranteed.
That’s almost double the guaranteed money the Broncos were offering him in June.
Miller received $23 million at signing and will earn $61 million over the first eight months of the blockbuster deal that makes him the highest-paid player outside of quarterbacks in NFL history.
Miller thanked team owner Pat Bowlen, president and CEO Joe Ellis, general manager John Elway and coach Gary Kubiak “for making this possible.”
“I’m also thankful for the way my teammates and our fans have supported me,” Miller said in a statement. “I’m excited for the future and ready to get back to work.”
Miller and agent Joby Branion parlayed patience into a record-breaking deal in terms of overall value and guarantees. Last month, Miller’s camp rejected the $38.5 million the Broncos offered in guarantees, and Miller threatened to sit out the season barring a long-term deal.
Elway bolstered the offer over the last week and now the man who almost single-handedly destroyed Carolina’s championship dreams will lead Denver’s title defense that begins Sept. 8 against those Panthers.
“I’m happy that both sides were able to broker a deal that works for both sides,” Branion said. “That’s the mark of a good negotiation. The Broncos are happy to have Von back and Von’s happy to be back.”
Miller was in Utah on Friday for an appearance with Whitney Carson, his partner on “Dancing With The Stars, and Elway was overseas.
“Congrats @Millerlite40! Excited for what the future holds for you & our team,” Elway tweeted. “Proud of everyone for getting it done.”
The cornerstone of the league’s best defense accepted the Broncos’ blockbuster offer two hours before Friday’s deadline, tweeting a photo of himself in his orange No. 58 jersey with the caption “For Life.”
Both the overall value of the deal and the guaranteed money are records for nonquarterbacks. The only player with more guaranteed money is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the league’s highest-paid player. The six-year, $140 million contract Luck signed last month includes $75 million fully guaranteed.
The next few years will determine whether Miller’s deal is a win-win in Denver. But it’s already a huge victory for the versatile outside linebacker who has 60 career sacks in five seasons.
This contract checks off all the boxes for Miller — the biggest overall deal for a non-QB in league history, most guaranteed money for an NFL defensive player and a benchmark contract that raises the bar for the next superstar.
In June, Miller’s camp agreed to the parameters of the Broncos’ six-year offer that slightly exceeded the $114.375 million Miami’s Ndamukong Suh received in 2015 in becoming the league’s highest-paid defender. But they asked for millions more in guarantees.
Fletcher Cox quickly established a new floor for Miller with his $63.3 million in guarantees, and Luck’s deal raised the ceiling for Miller, the star of Super Bowl 50.
After Elway put his exclusive franchise tag on him, Miller skipped the Broncos’ offseason program, joining his teammates only for their White House visit and ring ceremony. But Miller stayed in tip-top shape, in part by doing all that dancing on ABC’s prime-time hit show.
Miller, the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, has 60 career sacks and has bounced back from a 2013 season that was derailed by a suspension and a knee injury that sidelined him for the Broncos’ Super Bowl loss to Seattle.
Miller predicted peaceful contract negotiations 12 hours after spearheading Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina in this year’s Super Bowl. But things got thorny last month after details of Denver’s June 7 offer became public. Miller cropped Elway from a photo on his Instagram account and then said there was no way he’d play this season on the franchise tag.
The two of them patched up their differences as talks reignited and the man Elway has called the best player he’s ever seen will be back in uniform when the Broncos report to training camp.