It’s July 7th, 2016 and Broncos MVP linebacker Von Miller is (still) currently unsigned. The man who has yet to pull the trigger on a deal is V.P. of football operations and General Manager John Elway. Unlike Elway’s own days on the field, he want’s the best players on the Broncos to take a “Patriots-style home-town-discount” and so far, Von Miller isn’t biting.
It’s Elway’s job to build a championship team. Not one and done. Every year. As the Patriots have shown, with the modern eras cap driven team building restrictions, getting your top player(s) to give a home-town-discount (ahem … we are talking about you Mr. Tom Brady) gives your team a huge competitive advantage.
The NBA’s Michael Jordan was one of the first to ascribe to the concept. The Patriots QB Tom Brady has taken it to the next level with the way he structures his deals. Drives NFL agents absolutely bonkers. That’s their issue as Brady has it figured out he makes more money overall by taking less now. Why, how? Endorsements.
Endorsements are more plentiful and pay a lot more when the guy in front of the camera has Super Bowl bling. The more bling, the more money. A direct correlation and Tom Brady’s mother didn’t raise a mathematically challenged child.
Brady leads the way and other players throughout the league follow his lead showing up late in their careers for a year or so more in the sun and a chance at the trophy. The annual migration of elder league talent to New England is a phenomena to behold and Bill Belichick and the Patriots faithful the crew that enjoys the largess of the yearly event.
The primary difference here is Tom Brady is imminently more marketable as a white quarterback in New England than Von Miller is as a black defensive end in Denver. A lot more. That makes it easier for Brady to take the haircut on his NFL paycheck. What’s that you say? Racial disparity between black and white doesn’t exist in the NFL? Hmmmm, got some swamp land in Louisiana I want to sell you.
The last item Elway hasn’t figured out how to get around is the leadership issue. Once the team leader gives a team discount it’s much more likely other team members will consider the same. Elway just paid a broken down Peyton Manning the entire farm and cobbled a team together around him that won it all. He is now trying to imprint a new team financial formula.
The NFL is the last primary sports league to dig in it’s heels on guaranteed money and it’s a battle they are slowly losing. With the NYG giving DL Vernon Oliver $52 million guaranteed while the Broncos are (reportedly) offering Von Miller $40 million guaranteed one can easily understand why Von Miller’s camp is like .. say what?!? The structure of the deal seems to be the issue.
At this point the two sides are still talking however Elway seemingly wan’ts Von Miller to “do the right thing” and take one for the team. Why Von Miller and not Peyton Manning? I don’t really have a good answer. I suspect, neither does Elway.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over