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Von Miller’s future drove a few teams’ decisions this week. His ultimate destination ended up shocking the football world.
Miller is headed to Buffalo to join the Bills on a six-year, $120 million deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday. The contract includes an average of $17.5 million per year for the first four seasons and $51 million in guarantees, per Rapoport.
Miller’s courting came on the heels of the edge rusher winning his second Super Bowl and first as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, who were expected to make a strong push to keep him and make another run at a title in 2022. Los Angeles did not give up through Wednesday, with coach Sean McVay emotionally appealing to Miller to stay, per Rapoport. But Buffalo’s quiet work on Miller, which took up the entire day, ended up winning out.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) March 17, 2022
Buffalo didn’t stop there, either. The Bills added to the other side of the ball, too, signing Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard, Rapoport reported. The team later officially announced both roster additions.
Miller was a factor in Denver’s decision to sign former Cowboys edge rusher Randy Gregory, as Denver believed Miller’s price tag would be too expensive for the Broncos’ liking, per NFL Network’s James Palmer. Evidently, the price wasn’t too rich for Buffalo’s blood, as the Bills added a huge name to a defensive front that also includes promising second-year player Greg Rousseau.
In simple terms, Miller’s deal is massive for a player who turns 33 before the end of March. The eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro has been an elite edge rusher at his peak, but injuries have hampered him in recent seasons. Miller’s trade to Los Angeles didn’t quite register a significant difference in the regular season, but his excellent performance in the Rams’ run to a Super Bowl LVI triumph put him back on the radar of teams in need of pass-rushing help. Buffalo ended up making the strongest push to sign the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, and will hope his skills will help the Bills get over the hump into the Super Bowl.
Howard joins a tight end group headlined by surprise contributor Dawson Knox, who set career-high marks in receptions (71), yards (587) and touchdown catches (nine) in 2021. A former first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017, Howard got off to a strong stat, catching 26 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns in his first NFL season before repeatedly encountering injury struggles. Rob Gronkowski’s arrival on the heels of Tom Brady’s move south took away opportunities from Howard, who started just nine games in 2021 and caught a total of 25 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns in the two seasons in which he shared the field with Brady.
Howard finds a new opportunity as an athletic tight end in Buffalo’s offense, which is powered by big-armed, star quarterback Josh Allen. Howard brings mismatch opportunities to the Bills’ offense in the passing game and can complement Knox to create a formidable tandem at the position.