NFL Offseason – One of the top edge rushers in free agency, Von Miller, had seen his name linked to a lot of familiar places in recent days. Some said he would return to Los Angeles, where he just won a Super Bowl with the Rams. Some said he would return to Denver, where he won a Super Bowl with the Broncos. Some said he would return to Dallas, where he grew up, and try to win a Super Bowl with the Cowboys. But we have an upset! Miller is heading to the AFC East to join the Buffalo Bills a franchise that hasn’t won a Super Bowl … yet.
Since he was drafted second overall in 2011, Miller leads all NFL players with 115.5 quarterback sacks. That includes 110.5 sacks with the Broncos, where he was named defensive rookie of the year; made three All-Pro teams and eight Pro Bowls; and earned the Super Bowl 50 MVP award. Last November, he was traded to Los Angeles, where he added 5.0 sacks in eight regular-season games and 4.0 more in the playoffs, a key cog in the Rams’ championship defense.
After a particularly frenzied free-agent chase, Miller has joined the Bills where he will look to improve a defense that was (checks notes) already the best in the NFL. Buffalo was first in both overall defensive DVOA and pass defense DVOA last season. And while they were “only” seventh in adjusted sack rate, they had the league’s highest pressure rate according to Pro Football Reference.
The Bills did it with numbers last year—16 different players had at least half a sack, and Mario Addison led the team with just 7.0. Addison and Jerry Hughes (2.0 sacks) are now free agents, but Miller is a clear upgrade over either of them—he has had at least 8.0 sacks in each of the last seven seasons. He turns 33 later this month, so he probably won’t see the end of his six-year, $120-million deal, but he may see a third championship ring in his future.
All of this, of course, is terrible news for the Rams, who lose not only their top edge rusher, but also the second- and third-round picks in next month’s draft that they gave up to acquire him. But again: they won a Lombardi Trophy, so no regrets.
Von Miller Overall Impact: Massive. Last year, the Bills lost an overtime playoff game to the Chiefs, who went on to lose a playoff game to the Bengals, who went on to lose the Super Bowl by only three points. With the relative weakness of their division, they were already a strong bet to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl next season. Miller’s arrival takes them a step farther and makes them the likely Super Bowl favorites.
Von Miller Fantasy Impact: Buffalo’s divisional opponents now include a Dolphins team in transition, a Jets team that is still finding its way, and a Patriots team still looking for weapons. They also face the Steelers, Browns, Bears, and Lions. This should be the first defense taken in every league’s fantasy draft.