Von Miller Landing Spots: Chiefs, Browns, Seahawks may be fits for Hall of Fame edge rusher

What are the potential landing spots for Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Von Miller if he leaves via free agency in 2022?

The Los Angeles Rams went all-in at the 2021 NFL trade deadline. General manager Les Snead sent second and third-round picks to the Broncos in exchange for future Hall of Fame edge rusher Von Miller, adding the veteran to a defense that already includes another stalwart headed for Canton in Aaron Donald. Can the Rams afford to bring Miller back to their star-studded roster in 2022? If not, what are some of his possible free-agent landing spots?

Can the Rams retain Von Miller?

The Rams seem to be on a mission to prove that draft choices, salary-cap space, and other restrictive measures simply aren’t that critical to fielding a Super Bowl-caliber roster. Whether it’s acquiring Matthew Stafford or Jalen Ramsey or signing Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles always seems to have one more move up its sleeve.

But re-signing Miller will be extremely difficult. Yes, reports have already surfaced indicating the Rams would like to extend Miller beyond 2021. But even at age 32, the veteran pass rusher should be able to garner $10-14 million annually. He could sign a deal similar to Jason Pierre-Paul’s two-year, $25 million contract with the Buccaneers. The Rams have less than $4 million in projected 2022 cap space and a long list of unrestricted free agents. Never count Los Angeles out, but retaining Miller will be a challenge.

Von Miller landing spots

If Miller leaves the Rams, what other teams stand out as potential destinations? Miller will likely aim to play for a contender, so we’ll limit this list to teams with realistic postseason hopes for 2022.

The Browns could use an edge-rushing partner for Myles Garrett

Cleveland wasn’t afraid to target defensive upgrades during the 2021 free-agent period. Adding to a roster that already included Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, the Browns signed John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Takkarist McKinley, and Malik Jackson to sizeable contracts. The team’s defensive line, in particular, has been solid this season, ranking seventh in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate.

Yet, it’s unclear what 2022 will look like for Cleveland’s front, as both Clowney and McKinley are set to hit free agency. The Browns may opt to bring one or both of them back, but Miller would be an interesting addition to the club’s defense. With his ability to play either standing up or with his hand in the ground, Miller would give Cleveland a chess piece opposite an annual Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

If Russell Wilson stays, Miller is a perfect fit for the Seahawks

If the Seahawks decide to trade Russell Wilson, fire Pete Carroll, and embark on a total rebuild, Miller obviously isn’t going to sign with Seattle. But if the team keeps Wilson and plans on contending, they desperately need to do something about their pass rush.

The Seahawks have posted only 21 sacks this season (third-worst in the NFL). Their 20.3% pressure rate is seventh-worst in the league. 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor has produced 6 sacks and played decently overall, but the rest of Seattle’s edge-rushing group needs reinforcements. If Seattle decides to make another run, Miller could be a great addition.

Miller could head back to the AFC West and sign with the Chiefs

The Chiefs and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo love to bring pressure. Their 27% blitz rate ranks ninth in the NFL, and the unit is better for it. Kansas City has shown marked improvement on defense over the last several weeks, especially after moving Chris Jones back to the interior after he spent time at defensive end.

Meanwhile, Frank Clark has been a little better this season, but he’s still extremely overpaid compared to his production. The Chiefs could designate him as a post-June 1 cut and spread out his dead money over 2022 and 2023. If they make that move, Kansas City could decide to bring in a veteran like Miller. He’d certainly be more affordable than Clark and is likely to offer better play, as well.

The Chargers need all the help they can get opposite Joey Bosa

Miller has played against the Chargers 17 times. In those 17 games, he’s posted 16 sacks. The Chargers are intimately aware of Miller’s capabilities. If he signed with the Bolts, he’d not only get to return to the AFC West, but he’d get to stick in Los Angeles. Could this fit get any better?

Actually, yes. Both Chargers head coach Brandon Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill were on the Broncos’ staff during Miller’s time in Denver. They’d be very comfortable adding the veteran pass rusher. Uchenna Nwosu has played well this season, but Los Angeles could certainly use another option along their defensive line.

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