Much like fellow stout NFL pass rusher Chandler Jones, two-time Super Bowl winner Von Miller will lead the charge in 2022 NFL free agency for anyone interested in opening up their pocketbook to pay big money for a dominant force off of the defensive edge. The bottom line is rumors of Miller's demise were greatly exaggerated. The future Hall of Fame linebacker answered his unexpected trade from his beloved Denver Broncos to the Los Angeles Rams by going on a tear to finish the season en route to hoisting his second Lombardi Trophy, putting himself in position to cash in big this offseason.
Those who are set to go after Jones are also set to go after Miller -- the hope being they can land one or the other -- so you can expect quite a bit of overlap between the list of suitors for both, e.g., Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, etc.
That said, the seven-time NFL All-Pro will also carry his own air of intriguing potential landing spots, especially considering two of them are longtime rivals to his Broncos.
Market value (per Spotrac): $10.6 million annually
Miller was emotional about his exit from Denver ahead of the trade deadline, but he's not holding a grudge against Broncos general manager George Paton. Quite the opposite, actually, because the Denver legend made it known ahead of Super Bowl LVI that he "didn't want to leave" and that he has "always wanted to be a Bronco forever". Well, his work in Los Angeles is done, at least at the moment, and there's nothing stopping him from heading home with eventual hopes of finishing his career where it started more than a decade ago. And if he's willing to toss in a hometown discount as well, it will give Paton that much more ammunition to make it happen and, let's be clear, the Broncos can neither afford to wave off pass rush help for Bradley Chubb nor a chance to right a wrong with a team legend who has now proven he's still in his prime.
You just know Andy Reid and the Chiefs would love to get their hands on Miller, and for two very obvious reasons. The first is glaring, in that it would stick it to the Broncos in forcing them to scheme against their own legend at least twice per season. The other is less glittery but more important, in that Kansas City needs to get back to punishing opposing quarterbacks. Chris Jones did well in 2021, delivering nine sacks in 14 regular season games, but there was a serious drop-off from there, with Frank Clark suffering a third consecutive season of regression in that category -- mustering only 4.5 sacks in the same number of starts (now three years removed from his career-best 13-sack season). So here's a question for Reid: would you rather keep Clark and suffer a cap hit of $26.3 million (as-is) in 2022, or add Miller for far less next season? Answer key: Ask Clark to take a pay cut and sign Miller.
You didn't think the Chiefs would be the only AFC West rival to have interest in Miller, did you? It only makes sense that the Chargers would potentially throw their helmet into the ring as well, and for the very same reasons the Chiefs would: to punish the Broncos and to upgrade their pass rush. Having parted ways with Melvin Ingram, there was a noticeable absence of a truly dominant edge rusher for the Chargers whose name isn't Joey Bosa -- who had 10.5 sacks last season. The Chargers have some quality rotational production in this category, but Miller would provide the other bookend that could help the defense take another step in trying to help Justin Herbert lift the team back into the playoffs. They have the added advantage of sharing the same city as the Rams, so a part of their pitch would be convincing Miller he wouldn't have to pack up and leave LA.
Los Angeles Rams
There's another team that can utilize that same spiel regarding money and time saved on relocation for a second time in two seasons, and that's the incumbent. The Rams also have the inside track to Miller, having been able to woo him for months whereas other teams can't begin whispering sweet nothings into his ear until legal tampering begins March 14. It also helps that head coach Sean McVay has decided to not retire, and while the world still awaits a decision from Aaron Donald, Miller has found a home away from home within the Rams organization. Being one of the more loyal players you'll ever come across, don't discount Miller's appreciation for the Rams giving up collateral to acquire him -- i.e., rightfully still believing him to be a premier talent -- and he might be curious to see if they can run it back in 2022.
OK, let's toss a curveball at the plate here in the form of the Lions. There's not much Miller hasn't accomplished in his Hall of Fame career, having now won a Super Bowl for two different teams to go along with his laundry list of other NFL accolades, so maybe he's interested in trying to help elevate a scrappy organization with a new head coach in Dan Campbell that has seemingly forced the needle into pointing upward. It only took one season for Campbell to show the NFL that the Lions will no longer be anyone's punching bag, and they could use the abilities of Miller, especially considering Charles Harris is currently a free agent as well (the team's leader in sacks last season with 7.5 produced). Miller would bring both dominance and leadership to a young group of defensive talent, and help Campbell truly take the next step in Detroit in a few months.
As stated, this is a move that would alleviate Miller from having to make one at all, in the real estate sense. Already in Los Angeles, he'd simply slide over to a very-promising Chargers team that is on the rise under Herbert and head coach Brandon Staley, and it provides him an opportunity to go from having played with Aaron Donald to Joey Bosa, versus signing outside of LA and wondering if he'd be forced into the role of being the only dominant pass rusher -- a much more taxing ask for a 32-year-old who, although bounced back nicely from injury, has shown recently he isn't immune to it as he gets older. It feels like the Chargers or only one or two key pieces away from making a ton of noise in their division and conference, and Miller would count as one of those pieces; and especially considering Staley has a ton of salary cap space to help pay whatever Miller wants.