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No. 1 defensive free agent in 2016? Denver Broncos best, Von Miller

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December 12, 2015


The NFL’s No. 1 defense is in that position because the Denver Broncos are bursting with some of the most talented players in football today.

There’s Chris Harris Jr. — maybe the NFL’s nicest and most underrated superstar — Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and more. But head and shoulders above all others is Von Miller, the quarterback sacking monster.

In all, there are 27 current Denver Broncos players which will become free agents in 2016, with 10 of them being either restricted or exclusive restricted free agents.

On the top of the list is Miller, both in terms of the amount of money he makes as well as his importance to the team. In 2015, the sack-dancing machine’s cap hit is an astounding $9.754 million. That number will only increase next season, but he’s undoubtedly worth every penny.

Through five years in the NFL, Miller’s racked up 197 total tackles with a phenomenal 58.0 sacks, nine passes defended and 15 forced fumbles. Those are just the raw numbers.

According to Pro Football Focus, Miller will be the No. 1 defensive free agent in 2016, rated overall at a 92.2 by their system. He’s the fourth-best edge-rusher in the league this season behind Khalil Mack (94.3), Cameron Jordan (94.1) and Justin Houston (92.9).

And, the thing about Miller which makes him so magical are the feats he performs on the football field. Sure, you can stack raw numbers up and say, “Whoa, look at all that production!” And you can even sit down and stare at the advanced numbers and understand he’s among the best.

But, until you sit down and watch him play, football fans won’t know exactly how mesmerizing Miller’s play can be.

Simply, he does things on the field never seen before. Or, at least, not in a long time. Von Miller’s a once-in-a-generation talent and possibly the best defensive player the Mile High City has ever known.

To get to a quarterback and tip a ball away is incredibly difficult, but to consciously snatch the ball for a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery in one fell swoop is spectacular.

Against the Chicago Bears, he got to Jay Cutler, tipping the ball in the air and allowing it to float to Malik Jackson for an interception which basically sealed the Broncos win that week.

And last week against the San Diego Chargers, Miller ripped the ball from Melvin Gordon’s hands for another game-clinching turnover.

Miller’s a menace for opposing teams and he’s a player the Broncos must re-sign at all costs.

Unfortunately, his high price tag may cost them other key defenders.

Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, Antonio Smith, Danny Trevathan and David Bruton are all key defensive free agents; Denver likely can’t keep them all. And that’s not counting the important offensive free agents, either.

Time is ticking on those decisions, but, for the rest of the 2015 season at least, enjoy every second No. 58 is out on the field, changing the game in positive ways for the Broncos, sacking quarterbacks and then dancing like a mad fool.

Maybe no one loves the game more than Miller and it shows every, single Sunday.


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