Cleat Geeks

The Denver Broncos Already Have a Problem

The Franchise Tag is a general manager’s best friend.

For those who may not know or for those who do and need a refresher, the franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. With most players, contracts are figured out but if not, teams and the player have a whole season to figure it out. GM’s and especially players want to get it done in the off-season so it is not a distraction come kickoff to start the year.MillerBreath

The Broncos won the Super Bowl against Super Cam 24-10. Peyton Manning goes out on top (yes, he will retire), while Cam Newton sees his MVP season come up short. It is not wrong to say both these teams could be back to the big game, but both teams have business to take care of in the off-season.

The Broncos won, but what if I told you they already have a big problem?

Two major parts to the Bronco’s future, Brock Osweiler and Von Miller, have finished the last year of their deals. Osweiler’s $3,516,000 rookie deal has expired and Von Miller is due for a big pay day. But who do you franchise tag?

Von Miller is the unanimous decision. The Broncos drafted Von Miller second overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He is the backbone of this defense and the future at twenty-six years young.  Miller has 60 career sacks and 16 forced fumbles, the guy is a freak.  Despite an ACL tear in 2013, he has been nothing short of greatness. His ability to rush off the edge and make moves against some of the best tackles in the NFL separates him from the rest.

Brock Osweiler (17) of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Brock Osweiler (17) of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

On the other hand, Osweiler made his case this season appearing in eight games with a QBR of 86.4 and a completion percentage at 61.8%. The Former Arizona State QB also threw for 1,967 yards and 10 TDs. Osweiler not only won big games for Denver this year, but he showed why he is the future of the franchise.  He is 6’ 8” and to have that height matched with his skillset, not many come around this often. So shouldn’t Denver want to lock him up?

Denver has to tag Miller. It protects him from becoming a free agent, and after winning the Super Bowl and the SB MVP, he is going to want a huge pay day. In today’s world, money is the main focus, not sticking to a team. The Franchise Tag will protect Miller from getting snatched from another team that can offer him big money. It gives Elway an advantage and time to work out a long term deal.

In actual dollars the franchise tag amounts are also very different for the two positions. It’s essentially worth the average of the top 10 salaries at a player’s position or 120% the value of his 2014 salary (whichever is higher). Currently, the average for an NFL quarterback based on 2014 salaries would be $18.5 million. The average for a line backer, which is the position Miller plays is dramatically lower at $13.2 million. Therefore, it makes much more sense to tag Miller. You get a premium athlete at his position for $5 million less than a good, young, yet unproven quarterback.

Osweiler is not worth the tag. Again with the money, the tag is for the player who would have trouble getting a deal done.  The market for Brock is nowhere near the market for Von, heck it’s not even close. There are still questions on his future but Osweiler is a good QB, and is the next franchise quarterback for this organization. The smart thing to do for both sides is to work out a short term deal where Osweiler has a chance to really prove himself so a big pay day can come in the future.

Denver has to tag Miller. He is unrestricted and once someone offers more money, he’s out. Reports are already out that they plan to tag Von Miller and then try to work out a deal as Miller plans to become the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. He definitely earned it and could be called the best outside linebacker currently in the NFL.

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