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Broncos offer to Miller contained $58 million injury guarantee

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos emerges from the tunnel during player introductions before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 28, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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It already was known that the expired (for now) offer made by the Broncos to linebacker Von Miller includes $39.5 million in cash payments over the first two years. It’s also known that Miller asked for more than $70 million to be paid out over three years.

Here’s something that wasn’t previously known (as far as I know) about the team’s offer. The lapsed deal, which surely would be un-lapsed if Miller wanted to accept it, has a total injury guarantee of $58 million at signing, with the remainder of the $58 million becoming fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year.

Delaying the vesting of the guaranteed money until future years is a common device, with very few players (e.g., Ndamukong Suh) ever getting three years of fully guaranteed money at signing. Teams do it because of the funding rule, which requires fully-guaranteed future payments to be placed into escrow, under the outdated assumption that the team may not be able to make ends meet at a later date.

Still, if Denver’s reluctance to fully guarantee three years of salary resulted only from the funding requirement and not from a let’s-see-if-we-want-to-give-this-guy-another-$20-million-two-years-from-now mentality, the vesting would be tied not to the start of the league year in March but to the commencement of the waiver period in February.

Will the Broncos fully guarantee some of the money to be paid in 2018, like the Jets did with Darrelle Revis in 2015? Perhaps. Under the current structure, the Broncos retain the ability to squeeze Miller to take less or to cut him loose entirely if he doesn’t perform at his past level over the next two seasons. Miller presumably wants to have full and complete security for the next three years.