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Decision day for Von Miller

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos strips the ball from Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Malik Jackson #97 of the Denver Broncos (not pictured) recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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After several days of quiet, the leaks returned with a vengeance on Thursday night. It’s now widely known that the Broncos have offered linebacker Von Miller $70 million in guaranteed money as part of the broader six-year, $114.5 million package that has been on the table for weeks.

The reports have made it clear that: (1) the Broncos aren’t moving any farther; and (2) the Broncos expect Miller to take the deal. Indeed, Mike Klis of 9news.com in Denver reports that “Miller is expected to accept” the offer before Friday’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline.

Which raises a very important question: Expected by whom?

With a lingering sense in Miller’s camp that the Broncos have attempted to impose their will on him and other players at the bargaining table, is it the Broncos telling reporters like Klis that Miller “is expected” to take the deal, or is it Miller’s people? If it’s the latter, then there likely will be a deal. If it’s the former, well, things could get interesting on Friday.

Miller already is rankled by the manner in which the negotiations were handled in June, perceiving that the team was trying to make him look greedy to the public and, more importantly, to his teammates for not accepting a deal that had a total of $58 million guaranteed for injury, $38 million of which was fully guaranteed at signing. If Miller now perceives that the Broncos are trying to paint him into a corner by making it known that he’s “expected” to sign the enhanced offer, maybe he won’t.

The overriding question remains whether he can get the same deal or a better one in March 2017, if he sits out the full year and the Broncos lose the ability to apply the exclusive tag on him again. If Miller’s agents know, on a wink-nod, non-tampering tampering basis, that another team would gladly give up a first- and third-round pick and pay Miller the $114.5 million plus the $14.129 million he’d lose by sitting out with a better guarantee structure, maybe he passes on the offer and takes a year off.

Rarely does a player not play for a full season due to contractual issues. But this is the first potential example of that happening after everyone became more sensitive to the long-term health effects of playing football. Maybe a season away from the grind extends Miller’s career and allows him to eventually walk away from the game with fewer problems later in life.

Regardless of whether that’s true, if he thinks it’s true, he could be more likely to not take the deal.

The options are as simple as they can be. Take the deal behind Door No. 1, or sit out the year and roll open Door No. 2. If Miller believes that the Broncos are trying to coerce him into picking Door No.1, maybe he’ll show them one finger and take Door No. 2.