Could Von Miller Sit Out 2016 NFL Season Over Broncos Contract Dispute?

Von Miller is coming off an excellent season in which he earned Super Bowl MVP honors. So what does the Denver Broncos linebacker have in store for an encore?

How about a season-long holdout?

Miller and the Broncos reportedly are at an impasse over the 27-year-old’s next contract. Miller accepted the length (six years) and total dollars ($114.5 million) of a potential deal, sources close to the four-time Pro Bowl selection told Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson on Wednesday, but the amount of guaranteed money apparently is a point of contention in the sides’ negotiations.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday, citing sources close to Denver, that the Broncos’ offer included $39.8 million guaranteed over the first two years of the contract. Multiple reports indicate that Miller isn’t too fond of that offer, though. And so far, the Broncos haven’t given in to his demands.

If Miller and the Broncos can’t reach a deal by the July 15 deadline for franchise players to sign long-term contracts, he will have to play the 2016 season under a one-year franchise tender of just over $14 million. That, of course, is unless Miller does something drastic, which apparently isn’t out of the question.

Robinson wrote Wednesday that the contract dispute has gotten to a point where “there is now a possibility that Miller could sit out the 2016 season entirely.”

Admittedly, this seems far-fetched on the surface. But as ProFootballTalk pointed out, under the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, the Broncos can’t use the exclusive franchise tender on Miller in 2017 if he doesn’t play in 2016. That means he, in theory, could sit out and sacrifice whatever money he’d earn this season — either the $14.1 million franchise tender or whatever he’d agree to as part of a long-term contract with Denver — in the hopes of landing a larger deal, perhaps with more guaranteed money, on the open market next offseason.

It’s risky. And it’s probably a long shot given the level of risk involved. But it’s a fascinating possibility when you consider Miller’s current stature as one of the NFL’s most dominant players.

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images

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