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Derek Wolfe admits he “took a significant haircut” to stay in Denver

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: The Denver Broncos take the field for the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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With linebacker Von Miller trying to get as much money as he can from the Broncos, a teammate who opted not to try to break the bank is treading lightly when talking about the situation. But even as Denver defensive lineman Derek Wolfe tiptoes around the issue, his message is clear.

“Business is business, and that’s his business. And he has to do what he’s gotta do,” Wolfe told Brady Quinn and Bruce Murray of SiriusXM NFL Radio regarding Miller’s contract situation. “Obviously, I took a different route and decided that this is where I want to be so I’m going to take a significant haircut to stay here, and that’s fine with me. But some people don’t feel that way.”

Wolfe previously has said he doesn’t regret doing a deal during the season instead of forcing his way to the market, the way that former teammate Malik Jackson did. And while Wolfe (who signed for four years, $36.75 million) doesn’t begrudge those who choose to get paid, it doesn’t take a genius (which qualifies me for the assignment) to realize that Wolfe personally believes guys should be willing to take less than they could get elsewhere in order to hold a championship-caliber team together.

Comments from earlier in the interview also suggest that Wolfe believes the Broncos can win without Miller.

‘This is a business, and sometimes the business gets in the way of what’s really important, and that’s winning football games,” Wolfe said, referring to all of the changes and not specifically to the potential absence of Miller. “But at the end of the day I think that we have the players and the staff to plug anybody we need wherever we need them.”

I’m not sure they have another Von Miller ready to go in the event he never plays another down for the Broncos. Regardless, it’s hard not to wonder whether there will be at least a little awkwardness in the locker room if/when Miller walks through the door after skipping the offseason program with a six-year, $114.5 million deal that has as much as $70 million guaranteed, if not more, when guys like Wolfe and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. have done below-market deals that allowed the Broncos to give one guy that much.