Von Miller is too good to be a free agent. That's why the Denver Broncos placed their exclusive franchise tag tender on him Tuesday. NFL Media's Albert Breer first reported the move.
"Designating Von as our franchise player gives us the time to continue working toward a long-term agreement," Broncos general manager John Elway said in a statement. "We've had productive talks with Von's representation, and we'll continue those discussions with the goal of making sure Von remains a Bronco well into the future."
The exclusive tag is at a higher price than the traditional franchise tag. No other team can even try to sign Miller away and he'll earn no less than the average of the top five NFL salaries at linebacker. Miller is the first non-quarterback to get the exclusive tag since 2007 when Richard Seymour did with the Raiders.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Broncos have shown a commitment to getting a long-term deal done with Miller. Any deal would be expected to top Justin Houston's recent $101 million contract, although the two sides aren't close to a deal yet.
"I have never been franchised before so I can't really say, 'Hey I don't want to be franchised. I don't want to do this.'" Miller said Monday on NFL Network's NFL Total Access. "I can tell you what: I want to be with the Denver Broncos. I want to be with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, all those guys, DT (Demaryius Thomas). I want to be with those guys my whole career, and whatever it takes to get it done I am down for."
The Broncos would have loved to avoid using the tag on Miller. They have other big-time free agents like Malik Jackson and Brock Osweiler to deal with while they wait for Peyton Manning to potentially retire. Miller should feel good about getting a long-term deal, however, considering Elway's history. Left tackle Ryan Clady, kicker Matt Prater and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas each inked long-term deals after getting hit with the tag by Elway.
The best players rarely change teams in the NFL and Miller should play out his prime with the team that drafted him.