With the deadline for a long-term deal looming, the Denver Broncos have offered star middle linebacker Von Miller a record $70 million guaranteed as part of a six-year, $114.5 million deal the sides had agreed to in June, a source said.
That would make Miller the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history (based on guaranteed money) as well as the highest-paid player in Denver franchise history.
A source familiar with the talks said Thursday night that he was “optimistic” the deal will get done by a 4 p.m. ET Friday deadline for players who have been designated franchise players to sign long-term deals.
Two executives from teams other than the Broncos said Thursday that Miller “would have to take it.”
The Broncos and Miller’s agent, Joby Branion, had no substantive talks Thursday, but are expected to re-engage Friday morning, a source said. The two sides had agreed to the basic framework of the deal — six years, $114.5 million — in June, and after a negotiating respite in recent weeks, have since traded different proposals about the guaranteed money.
The Broncos’ latest offer includes the majority of the guaranteed money in the first two years of the deal.
Miller had been designated the team’s franchise player in February, which came with a one-year guaranteed tender of just over $14 million for the 2016 season. But the two sides have tried, with some starts and stops, to negotiate a long-term deal since the NFL scouting combine.
Miller has vowed not to play the 2016 season under the franchise tag, which is increasingly looking like a moot point with the mega-deal on the table.
Miller, the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2011, has 60 sacks in five seasons and played a key role on last season’s league-best defense. He reached what Broncos coach Gary Kubiak called a “dominant level” of play in a postseason run that included a five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in the team’s three postseason games. His sack and forced fumble on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50 created the Broncos’ first touchdown in the title game as Denver’s Malik Jackson recovered the fumble in the Panthers’ end zone.