The Buffalo Bills had a strong campaign in 2021, finishing first in the AFC East with an 11-6 record and coming very close to reaching the conference championship game.
With star quarterback Josh Allen, who finished second in the MVP balloting the previous season, and one of the National Football League’s most explosive offenses, the Bills’ prospects already looked great for 2022.
But those prospects got a boost when the team signed veteran linebacker and two-time Super Bowl winner Von Miller.
Buffalo signed him to a six-year contract that is worth $120 million, which is certainly a lot of money, especially when one considers salary cap ramifications.
But was it too much to pay for a man who the Bills hope will be the final piece of a world championship team?
Miller Recently Put Another Team Over The Top
After he was the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Miller was a mainstay of the Denver Broncos for many years.
Once they acquired Peyton Manning, they quickly went to back-to-back Super Bowls, and when Denver won it all in Super Bowl 50, Miller was named the game’s MVP for his help in pressuring Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton into a terrible outing.
.@VonMiller TOOK OVER Super Bowl 50.
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) February 7, 2019
With the Broncos in a long-term rebuilding process, they decided to trade him in the middle of last season to the Los Angeles Rams, a team that was already considered a title contender.
L.A. already had Aaron Donald, who is a beastly defensive lineman.
But it was projected that Miller would take the Rams to another level.
Some wondered if it was worth it for the Rams to give up multiple draft picks for him.
In the Super Bowl last month against the Cincinnati Bengals, the investment paid off when Miller had two sacks to set the scene for a Rams triumph.
— TimeoutSPORTS__ (@TimeoutSPORTS3) February 14, 2022
Although the Bills had the league’s top defense in terms of points allowed last season, they didn’t have a top-shelf pass rusher.
Miller should check that box, as long as he plays at the level he did during the playoffs.
Why $120 Million Is Too Much
Miller used to be an elite pass-rusher on a consistent basis.
But these days, he’s not quite what he used to be.
He suffered a torn ACL late in 2013, and in 2020 he sustained a dislocated peroneal tendon that prevented him from taking the field that season.
He has not posted double-digits in sacks since the 2018 campaign, two full years before his most recent injury.
In addition, Miller will turn 33 soon.
It may be reasonable to expect him to be a difference-maker for another year or two, but expecting him to justify being paid an average of $20 million a year beyond that sounds like asking for too much.
His contract could turn out to be especially onerous a few years from now, when the annual numbers start to climb, and it could put the Bills over the salary cap and make it tough for them to improve their squad.
Reportedly, the first “out” for Buffalo when it comes to Miller’s contract would be after the 2024 campaign, at which point Miller will be about to turn 36.
On the other hand, Miller’s former team proved that going all-in is not only a viable strategy, but that it can work extremely well.
The Bills certainly have the players around him to provide a great return on their investment in him.