When the Buffalo Bills signed Von Miller to a six-year contract, it was surprising to say the least considering he is going to be 33 years old entering this season. However, based on the structure, the Bills could release Miller after only three years with minimal dead cap.
This doesn’t seem to be the plan for Miller though as he recently said that he is planning on playing in Buffalo for the next six years. According to Mark Gaughan at The Buffalo News, Miller said:
"“This is a six-year deal, so I’m looking forward to playing the whole thing,” Miller said at minicamp. “I’m trying to play the whole thing out. Tom Brady’s done it, Bruce Smith has done it. All the guys that I look up to when it comes to longevity in careers."
Buffalo Bills presents Von Miller with a great opportunity at extending his career
Recently, there have been players who have been able to extend their careers and play longer in the NFL. It isn’t uncommon to see quarterbacks play at a high level well into their 40s but it isn’t something typically seen at other positions, like defensive ends.
Miller does mention former Buffalo Bills’ defensive end Bruce Smith as a player who has done this and he did play 19 seasons in the NFL and in his final season was 40 years old. It certainly is possible and the former All-Pro notes that there have been significant advances in ways to take care of a player’s body.
However, one of the reasons the Bills may have been so appealing to Von Miller is they rotate at the position frequently over the course of the season which can limit a player’s workload. Last year, two of the top defensive ends for the Bills were Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, two players who are in their mid-30s. Addison in particular was very productive in his two seasons with Buffalo, leading the team in sacks both years and had seven sacks last year.
The depth at the position is rather impressive with Miller joined by second-year pass rushers Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham along with A.J. Epenesa and former first round pick Shaq Lawson.
Sean McDermott, Leslie Frazier and the defensive coaching staff won’t need to rely on Von Miller as much and managing his snaps should help him stay fresh not only over the course of a season but potentially help him achieve that goal of playing all six years in Buffalo.