Back in the day, before social media became a governing force in all of our lives, if you were an NFL player mired in a contract dispute with your team and you wanted to make yourself heard, you or your agent needed to go to the local media, state your case, and hope it was compelling enough to be worthy of a story. In retrospect, that was a cumbersome and unwieldy process, having to involve other human beings and cede control of the message to a writer or sports reporter.
Man, do we live in easier times now, huh?! In 2016, with social media, you can get your story out there in about a thousand different ways with the mere push of a button! Just ask Super Bowl MVP Von Miller!
The Denver Broncos dynamic pass rushing outside linebacker was slapped with the franchise tag by the Broncos when free agency began in March, so that he couldn't sign anywhere else, and so that the Broncos could work with him exclusively on a long-term deal. Well, both sides have been working diligently to that end, reportedly agreeing on the length (six years) and overall money ($114.5 million) in the deal.
There's just one problem — on the list of crucial figures for an NFL contract, the importance of the length and overall money are dwarfed by the importance of the guaranteed money and how that guaranteed money is paid out. (Not far behind — whether the money is guaranteed for injury only, or just plain guaranteed.)
And therein lies the disconnect between Miller and the Broncos, specifically between Miller and team president/general manager John Elway.
How do we know the beef is personal between those two? Well, that brings us back around to the whole social media thing, and how in 2016, Von Miller can very creatively and specifically point the "contract negotiation finger" at Elway by cropping him out of a picture taken at the team's White House visit last week.
Here is the original picture, posted to DeMarcus Ware's Instagram page, in which we see (L-R) head coach Gary Kubiak, Ware, Miller, some dude with a huge forehead, and Elway....
.....and here is the edited picture, after an Elway-ectomy....
According to ESPN.com's Adam Scheffer, this editing ploy by Miller was no accident... Miller is pissed!
Upset with contract negotiations, Von Miller cropped out John Elway from Friday's Instagram post: pic.twitter.com/KJWpRevF2f— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 11, 2016
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The Broncos have offered Miller $39.8 million guaranteed paid out over the first two years, and $19 million guaranteed heading into Year 3. The team has a July 15 deadline to reach a long-term deal with Miller, otherwise he will play the 2016 season under the franchise tag's $14.9 million guarantee for one season. (Some have intimated Miller could sit out 2016 which would remove Denver's ability to tag him in 2017 and make him an unrestricted free agent, but it seems nearly impossible to fathom Miller doing that.)
The Miller stalemate continues a new tradition under Elway of establishing a value on core nucleus players and then being unflinchingly rigid in moving off those values when the market floats upward. Just ask Brock Osweiler.
I can't wait to see if and how Elway retaliates against Miller on social media. Given the age we live in, may I suggest Elway tweeting out a picture of Miller with a "crying Michael Jordan" face?
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