The future of Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Von Miller is up for debate as he heads into free agency this offseason. Let’s take a look at how Miller performed at the age of 32 this past season, what sort of contract value he could be looking at, and where his potential landing spots might be.
Von Miller had a strong start and finish to the 2021 season
If you include both the regular season and the playoffs, Miller has 11.5 sacks in 18 games this year. However, when you look at the breakdown of those sacks, it is even more intriguing. He started the year with 4.5 sacks in the first four games before recording zero in the next three with the Broncos. Miller then went four games with the Rams before he registered a sack. Yet, that set him on a path that saw him get 7 sacks in the next six games.
The NFC Championship Game against the 49ers was the first since December 13 in which Miller did not generate a sack. However, the burst to end the season has certainly left little doubt that Miller is still a difference-maker. When you look away from the box score and view the film, it is clear to see his impact on opposing offenses. That skill he has shown on tape late in the year should make him a prized potential addition this offseason.
Coming off a 5-sack campaign in 2020, J.J. Watt commanded a $14 million average across two years last offseason. There is no reason that Miller should not be able to command that price — or more. Spotrac is somewhat more conservative, projecting Miller’s value as closer to $10 million annually over two years.
If a team can get Miller for $10 million per year, they should jump at it. However, it seems likely he will be looking for more than that. Of course, he may be willing to take a drop in price for an opportunity he views as ideal. Additionally, he may even look to take an opportunity where he can earn more, even if it means a less ideal circumstance.
Von Miller landing spots
There should be no shortage of teams interested in adding Miller this offseason. Let’s examine some of the landing spots that would make sense from a need and resources perspective.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could give themselves a fearsome pass-rush duo
Let’s start with arguably the most mouthwatering of options. The Steelers have other needs to address before adding another pass rusher, but they have $32 million in projected cap space. If they utilized a chunk of that, they could pair Miller with T.J. Watt. Having that duo upfront would help mask any concerns in the secondary.
Additionally, putting Miller on that defense would help the offense somewhat in Pittsburgh. Making that Steelers defense a shutdown unit would relieve some pressure on the offensive unit. The Steelers allowed the 13th-most points of any defense this season, which transfers pressure to the offense. Pittsburgh is well known for its strong defense, and Miller would help them get back to those highs.
If the Miami Dolphins stick with a 3-4 defense, Miller would be an ideal target
We have some clarity on the situation in Miami, as it’s been confirmed that Josh Boyer will remain as defensive coordinator. That should mean we see the Dolphins continue to run the 3-4 defense that they utilized with Brian Flores as head coach. If that is the case, Miller would be an ideal target for this team.
Emmanuel Ogbah is set to be a free agent, and with Jaelan Phillips entering just his second year, the Dolphins should look to add a high-impact free agent to their pass rush. Miami has the cap space to spare and largely a settled defense. There are some question marks at middle linebacker, but most of the defense should return. Putting Miller on a squad containing Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Jevon Holland, and Phillips could make this one of the best units in the league.
The Los Angeles Chargers have the cap space to add Miller
The prospect of Miller and Joey Bosa together might almost be as exciting as the Miller-Watt combination. Bosa and Melvin Ingram made for an outstanding duo, and Ingram’s departure took away a touch of the fear factor from that defensive front. Dropping Miller in would instantly return that element and make the Chargers a really tough defense to face.
The Chargers will likely be linked to a lot of high-profile free agents this offseason. After the Dolphins, they are projected to have the second-most cap space in the NFL. Therefore, they can afford to chase a few big names and look to turn themselves from a fringe playoff contender to a Super Bowl challenger in one offseason.
Could the Rams make a return work?
The Rams have a lot of decisions this offseason, and they likely cannot bring everyone back. However, Miller might be the one guy they really try to prioritize this offseason. Having Miller on the line opens up a lot for the likes of Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd. Even when Miller himself is not getting the sacks, he is drawing the defense’s attention and making life difficult for opponents.
Additionally, Miller might even be willing to return at a discount. From everything we have seen, Miller has seemed to settle quickly in Los Angeles and has enjoyed being part of a high-profile, star-studded defense. If any team is going to be able to convince Miller that a $10 million per year deal is in his best interest, it will likely be the Rams.