The Buffalo Bills Finally Land Their Elite Edge Rusher

The Buffalo Bills pass rush has been middle of the pack the past few seasons. It was no secret that they needed help in that department, especially at Defensive-end. On the first day of free agency, the Bills opened up their wallet and finally addressed that need. They signed reigning Super Bowl champion and probable future Hall of Famer Von Miller, to a 6-year contract worth $120 million. It was hinted the Bills might spend some money this off-season, and they did so with the big splash signing of Miller. The Buffalo Bills defense was ranked number one in the league last year, and the addition of Von Miller makes them even better.   

Bills Have Been Chasing an Edge Upgrade 

While Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane usually works in silence, his pursuit of an elite defensive end the past two years was not. Last off-season the Bills were in on star defensive end J.J. Watt. The Bills were one of the finalists for Watt before he chose the Arizona Cardinals. At the 2021 trade deadline, the Bills tried to acquire now Buffalo Bill Von Miller. The Broncos decided to send him to the future Super Bowl LVI champions, the LA Rams. The Rams gave up a second-round and third-round pick for Miller. That was definitely too steep of a price for Beane who highly values his draft picks.  

Fast forward to this off-season, and the Bills were still looking to get better. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was re-signed on Monday by the Miami Dolphins. Ogbah revealed that the Bills were in the mix of teams trying to sign him. Proving that Brandon Beane was still on the hunt for an edge upgrade. Star pass rusher Chandler Jones decided to join the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bills were linked to him as well with early off-season rumors and per Josina Anderson, the Bills were a finalist team that Jones considered joining. It took a while, but the Bills finally got the elite edge rusher they were after.  

Von Miller by The Numbers 

Von Miller is a two-time super bowl champion and former super bowl MVP. He is an eight-time pro bowler, 3-time first-team All-Pro, and 4-time second-team All-Pro. The edge rusher is considered a hall of fame lock. He has the most career sacks of any active player with 110.5. To go along with that, Miller has 540 tackles, 233 quarterback hits, 154 tackles for loss, and 27 forced fumbles in his career. Miller has played in 11 postseason games throughout his career. In those games, he has registered 10.5 sacks, 45 total tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery.  

Availability is the best ability in the NFL. In his 11-year career, in all but two seasons (2013 played only 9 games and missed all of 2020), Miller has played 15 or more regular-season games. In 6 out of 10 seasons he played in all 16 regular-season games. Excluding his 9 games 2013 season, Miller has never posted less than 8 sacks in a season (2019 on a bad 7-9 Broncos team). Mario Addison was the Bills’ leading sack man with 7 last season. The Bills have not had a player post double-digit sacks in a season since Lorenzo Alexander did so in 2016. If Miller wins a Super Bowl with the Bills, he will join linebacker Matt Millen as the only two players in NFL history to ever win a Super Bowl with three different teams.  

Breaking Down Miller’s Contract 

According to Ian Rapoport, the Bills worked quietly all day long to acquire Miller on Wednesday. The Rams did their best to try and retain him, but he ultimately chose to join the Bills. Per Albert Breer, Miller’s agent told Buffalo of Von’s interest to join them early on and a big deal breaker was wanting to play with quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills awarded Miller with a shockingly big 6-year $120 million contract. A 6-year deal for someone turning 33 years old seems a bit odd but as is the case with most contracts, it is not what it seems at first. Brandon Beane is great at structuring contracts and loves to back-load them to give himself some maneuverability. Beane has done that once again with the new deal for Miller

Just $51.5 million of Miller’s new deal is guaranteed. Of that, $45 million is guaranteed at signing. If those guarantees come at the beginning of the deal, they are likely to know Brandon Beane. Then the Bills will have an easy way out of the deal down the line. Per Aaron Wilson, the deal has a $53 million payout in the first three years. Combine that with the fact that the guaranteed money is very likely in the beginning years of the deal and the contract is essentially a 3-year $53 million deal. In the end, it seems all will work out. Miller gets paid, and the Buffalo Bills get the elite edge rusher they’ve been chasing without backing themselves into a corner. Not to mention, the salary cap number is expected to take a huge jump next season.  

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