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The Von Miller hesitation was warranted

If the Rams had re-signed Miller, he would have been just another injury casualty

NFL: FEB 16 Rams Super Bowl LVI Championship Parade Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams wanted to re-sign Von Miller after trading two day two picks and winning a Super Bowl with him. Miller may not be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate anymore, but he was easily the second-best front-seven option next to Aaron Donald and his impact in the playoffs changed L.A.’s odds of winning their all-in bet for 2021.

Von Miller had 14 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in four playoff games, teaming with AD to defeat Joe Burrow’s Bengals in the key moments of the Super Bowl.

The Rams wanted to keep Von and reportedly offered him more money per season than the Buffalo Bills did in free agency, but Miller chose to leave for more guaranteed money. L.A. instead turned around and offered that money to a much different type (but still Hall of Fame) of linebacker, signing Bobby Wagner away from the Seattle Seahawks. It was a bit of a strange move, but one that paid off big time for the Rams even though L.A. had such a disappointing season after winning the Super Bowl.

Miller was still a uniquely gifted player with the Bills this season, something that GM Brandon Beane mentioned on Thursday:

“You don’t have a replacement in the cabinet for Von Miller, and our D-line was really playing well with Von out there,” Beane said. “He allows more guys to be singled up.”

Miller said this week that he thinks the Bills’ Super Bowl window is still open. Miller and Beane are both expecting Miller to be a big part of a big season, one that they hope is still going a year from now.

It’s true. When Von was on the field, Buffalo’s defense was a different beast. The problem for the Bills and Von though is that he’s missed significant game action for the second time in three years because of injury. And that’s why you don’t give a 33-year-old veteran guaranteed money beyond two more seasons.

Miller played in Buffalo’s first 11 games, helping the team go 8-3 when he was out there, and notching eight sacks with 12 QB hits. The Bills continued to win without Miller, but gave up 29 points to the Dolphins in the regular season, 31 points in the wild card game, then losing 27-10 to the Bengals over the weekend.

Miller had a big impact on Burrow a year ago. He wasn’t out there for Buffalo’s latest early playoff exit. And the team isn’t even sure if he will be available for the start of 2023, though it sure sounds like Beane isn’t counting on it.

Meanwhile, Bobby Wagner was named as the Rams’ best player for 2022, played in all 17 games, was ranked by PFF as one of the top-three run defenders in the entire league, and he still managed a career-high six sacks with two interceptions. Miller wanted more guaranteed money, but Wagner has been a better, healthier player, and in the worst case scenario, L.A. can move on from his contract whenever the time is right.

Les Snead caught flak for not re-signing Von Miller and sure enough, the Rams need a player like Von Miller. Who doesn’t? But they were smart not to re-sign the actual Von Miller for what he wanted.