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Win-win: Von Miller gets cash, Broncos get cap

Miller's signing bonus gives the Broncos greater spending flexibility this offseason.
Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

KUSA – Von Miller helped his team and put cash in his pocket.

This is what the business world calls a win-win.

Miller, the Broncos’ star pass-rushing outside linebacker and the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player for going on three years, has agreed to convert $16 million of his $18.5 million salary in 2018 into a signing bonus.

Because signing bonus money can be prorated over the length of Miller’s six-year contract, the conversion lowers Miller’s salary cap number from $22.5 million to $10.125 million, or a cap savings of $12.375 million.

Miller didn’t take less. The transaction gives him greater cash flow as signing bonuses are generally paid either up front, or in installments with a significant portion paid immediately.

In doing so, Miller gave the Broncos greater spending flexibility to acquire a much-needed right tackle and cornerback Delvin Breaux, provided he passes his physical, and possibly a No. 3-type receiver and defensive lineman.

The Miller salary-to-bonus conversion supports what 9NEWS reported last week as they were preparing to enter the sweepstakes for free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins: The Broncos have cash, but their cap is restricted.

The Broncos are currently completing a $45 million to $50 million renovation and expansion project at their UCHeath Training Center headquarters. The Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse construction, new kitchen and office expansion phase was completed in 2015 and the team is currently updating its auditorium, offices and training room.

Since the NFL free-agent/salary cap system was instituted in 1994, the Broncos have almost always spent within 5 percent of its salary cap, which this year is about $188.5 million counting its rollover from 2017.

The Broncos had about $26 million in cap space entering free agency on Wednesday, although it gained another $13 million after trading away Aqib Talib and Trevor Siemian.

Miller followed his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance with a six-year, $114.5 million contract extension in the summer of 2016. The $19.083 million annual average made him the league’s highest-paid defensive player – a distinction he continues to own.

Miller has so far collected $42 million through the first two years of his deal. He will make another $19 million this year in signing bonus ($16 million), salary ($2.5 million) and workout bonus ($500,000).

That’s $61 million through three years at the halfway point of his contract. On Sunday, $9 million of his $17.5 million salary for 2019 will become fully guaranteed.