Von Miller described his decision to sign with the Buffalo Bills as a “selfish” move on Tuesday, noting that he was not content with staying in LA and “piling up sacks” with Aaron Donald on the Rams defense even if it could have resulted in another Super Bowl championship.
Miller would instead like to become the first player to win a Super Bowl with three different teams after signing a six-year, $120 million contract with the Bills on free agency.
Von Miller: “I could have just stayed in LA and just rode off into the sunset and just rushed with Aaron Donald and piled up sacks but I wasn’t happy…this is a special team, they’re right on the edge and I just wanted to be that last drop to overflow these guys.” pic.twitter.com/4qrAiODT7C
— Heather Prusak (@haprusak) June 14, 2022
Undoubtedly one of the best locker room leaders and veteran pass rushers in the NFL, Miller repeatedly called the Bills a “special” team and emphasized how much he wants to help the city of Buffalo get their first Super Bowl win. But it’s hard to forget that the Bills were also a franchise offering Miller a $120 million contract with $45 million guaranteed at signing.
Miller has cap hits of $5.1 million, $18.7 million, and $21.2 million over the first three years of the deal, all of which are virtually guaranteed, and that is more than the Rams could have likely afforded anyway. At least for the services of a 33-year-old edge rusher who will be 38 in the final year of the deal, a contract year that almost certainly won’t happen without a release first.
The Rams instead allocated some of their financial resources to linebacker Bobby Wagner, who will carry a $2.5 million cap hit in 2022, $12 million in 2023, and $12 million in 2024, should he make it that long with Los Angeles. Wagner plays a different position entirely and will not have much, if any, pass rushing value. But is one year younger and much more affordable.
The financial aspect of his decision is certainly something that Von Miller conveniently kept out of his response as to why he chose the Bills, but leaving the Rams is not something any fan should take personally. Miller may have felt like a bit of an afterthought next to Aaron Donald last season and he probably was, as Donald was the player closing out LA’s Super Bowl championship with a sack of Joe Burrow.
The pair were dynamic together last season: 11.5 combined sacks in eight regular season games, 7.5 combined sacks in four playoff games, 19 combined sacks in 12 total games together.
That includes four sacks in the Super Bowl.
The Rams continue to search for the player on the edge who could replicate some of that production in Miller’s absence, as nobody was performing up to task prior to LA’s decision to trade two day two picks to the Broncos for his services. Leonard Floyd remains in place, but Terrell Lewis, Chris Garrett, and seventh round pick Daniel Hardy are the other options for now.
Justin Hollins had two sacks in Week 1, but zero over the course of his other seven regular season and four playoff games.