Von Miller will miss the 2020 season barring a very quick recovery, but has he played his last down for the Denver Broncos?
The Denver Broncos have had some good buzz this offseason, as they seem to have finally found a quarterback. But that buzz got diminished on Tuesday, as linebacker Von Miller suffered an injury to an ankle tendon that will require surgery and end his 2020 season before it started.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has reported Miller suffered a dislocated peroneal tendon, with a six-month recovery time. Rapoport added that the “absolute best-case scenario” for a return is three months.
With Bradley Chubb working his way back from a torn ACL last year, the Broncos’ pass rush isn’t looking so great heading into the season. But a pertinent question is now about Miller’s future.
When he returns to action in 2021, Miller will be 32 years old. He has been good into his 30s, so his age isn’t necessarily a big thing. But in 2019 he fell short of double-digit sacks for the first time since 2013, when he played nine games. Next year will also be the final year of his contract, as he’s coming off a major injury.
Has Von Miller played his last down for the Broncos?
According to Over The Cap, the Broncos have until March 9 to exercise their option on Miller for 2021. A further look shows a $22.125 million cap hit for next year, with $4.125 million in dead money and the ability to clear $18 million in cap space if he’s cut. Absorbing dead money is not ideal, but the ability to clear $18 million when the league-wide cap is in line to drop next year is meaningful.
The Broncos’ decision on Miller will come down to how his recovery is going. If he is somehow able to return before the season is over, even in a limited capacity, that will offer a better gauge. He could also agree to a restructuring/pay cut to stay in Denver next year, rendering questions about his recovery relatively moot.
It’s unlikely to be a contentious situation, as the team conducts business and he maturely acknowledges his own future prospects after a significant injury. But there is a chance Miller has played his last down for the Broncos.