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Broncos don’t view Von Miller’s practical guarantee as $78.5 million

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos reaches to knock the ball away from Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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The Broncos and linebacker Von Miller finally agreed on the terms of a contract, but they don’t agree on what those terms as a practical matter mean.

Miller’s camp sees the guaranteed money in the six-year, $114.5 million deal as $78.5 million. By March of 2018, $9 million of Miller’s 2019 base salary will be fully guaranteed. In 2019, it will cost only another $8.5 million to keep him for a fourth year.

The Broncos see it much differently. Per multiple sources with knowledge of the terms of the contract, Miller’s deal includes offset language, which means that the Broncos will get credit if they cut him and he signs elsewhere. Because of that, a decision to cut Miller after three years would mean that they’d avoid the $8.5 million in non-guaranteed pay for 2019 and that they would get a dollar-for-dollar credit on the first $9 million he makes with another team.

This means that, while Miller is guaranteed to be paid $70 million over the next four seasons by someone, he may not get the full $70 million from the Broncos. Unless the Broncos or someone else is willing to pay him $17.5 million in 2019, he definitely won’t get $78.5 million.

He may get the $78.5 million, but from the team’s perspective there’s no guarantee -- literal, practical, or otherwise -- that he will. Instead, the team regards it a three-year, $70 million contract with the possibility that someone else will pay up to $9 million of that amount, plus a team-held option for the final three years.