Already one of the Super Bowl favorites, the Buffalo Bills signed fearsome pass rusher Von Miller to six-year contract potentially worth $ 120million, with $ 51.5m guaranteed.
That’s a huge investment in a player about to turn 33 and double the guaranteed amount of any other current defensive player’s contract who are in the 30s.
The Bills feel, though, that Miller showed enough when helping the Rams to win the Super Bowl last month that he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank, and that star quality to show up with the big plays at the right times.
Buffalo had the top-ranked defense in the NFL last season and generated plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but when it really mattered in the playoffs they came up just short again against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Josh Allen at quarterback and a championship-caliber squad around him, the Bills are firmly in the Super Bowl window, but just need that added sparkling of star power to get them over the line.
Signing a pass rusher who has now won Super Bowls with the Rams and the Denver Broncos may just be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Leaving LA ‘like breaking up with my girlfriend’
Miller was traded to the Rams from the Denver Broncos last season, and after forming an dominating partnership with Aaron Donald he was expected to then sign a long-term deal to stay in LA.
However, questions came up about a possible return to Denver, while plenty of other offers started to flow in as the eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 50 MVP had his pick.
In the end, he decided to move to Buffalo, who perhaps gave out a longer-term deal for more guaranteed money than other teams would offer a 32-year-old.
Miller says the decision was a tough one though.
“When I left Denver and I went to LA, I said I’m not going back. I said I’m not leaving,” Miller said.
“And it had to be something special. It had to be the Buffalo Bills. What they’ve created here – it had to be the Bills Mafia. This environment that they’ve created here, it drawed me away from that.
“It’s not gonna be the weather. The weather is gonna be the weather.
“But what they’re doing inside this facility, what they’re doing in this community, what they’re doing on the football field and off the football field, man, I had to be a part of that.
“I feel like I’m breaking up with my girlfriend. That’s just me and the way I go about my business. But this was the one time in my life where I had to make a decision for me.”
Miller adds X-factor to stacked Bills squad
Bills head coach Sean McDermott was delighted to be able to add Miller to an already stacked roster that has proven over the last couple of years that they are ready to go and win a Super Bowl.
“This was an opportunity for us to get our hands on one in Von and it’s not every year you have a chance to get a player like this at that position in particular,” McDermott said. “So, we were fortunate that the time was right for us and for him.”
Miller adds two things – firstly an undoubted quality to show up when needed as he showed in the playoffs when having four sacks and 18 QB pressures in four games, tied with Donald for the most in the postseason.
Secondly, the experience and presence of a two-time Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl MVP in the Bills locker room is something that just cannot be bought in.
Someone who has been there, done that and has the rings to prove it can just lift the team that few percent needed to take an extra step.
If the Bills are locked in more playoff battles next season they’ll stand a much better chance of stopping a Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert or the like if they can call Miller to chase them down.
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