By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller just sent the Denver Broncos the strongest signal yet that he won't play without a record-breaking contract extension.
The All-Pro defensive end posted to his Instagram account Thursday, with the caption: "'I love my Teammates, Coaches, and My Fans' but there is 'No Chance' I play the 2016 season under the Franchise tag." The Broncos tagged Miller on March 1, a one-year, $14.129 million tender that is at least $5 million below what Miller seeks in terms of average annual value.
The post comes after Miller just told talk show host Chelsea Handler on her new Netflix show that he doesn't see himself sitting out the 2016 season - no, seriously, he legit literally just said that. The full episode got posted on Netflix Thursday, less than an hour after Miller's Instagram post.
With well over $100 million hanging in the balance with Miller's next contract - he rejected a six-year, $114.5 million offer from the Broncos - there's no reason to believe that Miller and the Broncos would come to an agreement any time soon. This has huge implications for the Patriots, who play the Broncos in Denver on December 18 and were terrorized in the trenches by Miller in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.
If the Broncos are forced to play a significant portion of the 2016 season without their defensive anchor and one of the best players in football, period, they will have trouble matching the success of last season and, ultimately, earning home field advantage in their efforts to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
It's not uncommon for players to hold out, but it's relatively rare to miss significant regular season action; the Redskins' Sean Gilbert once sat out the entire 1997 season to protest against the franchise tag, so it's not unprecedented. Former Patriots guard Logan Mankins sat out seven games in 2010 before he and the team reached a record contract for his position.
Miller is such a difference-maker for the Broncos and matchup nightmare for every team he faces, his absence can only increase the Patriots' chances of getting home-field back in their favor. It also helps that the Patriots have their own stable of pending free agents and players on undervalued contracts, all of whom appear to be good soldiers entering training camp.
According to USA Today, Miller and the Broncos actually agreed on the years and value of the six-year, $114.5 million offer - Miller's real issue is with the amount of guaranteed money and overall structure of the deal. Those finer details could be ironed out in time for Broncos training camp, but Miller's sudden ultimatum on Instagram appears to suggest that an agreement between the two sides is not imminent.
Even if Miller comes to terms with the Broncos before the team's December 18 showdown with New England, the team may have to move forward for much of the season without their best player - not to mention, figure out the massive cap hit that they would have to work around for at least the next half-dozen years. This can only help the Patriots in the big picture.
This article was updated with additional information regarding the history of contract holdouts in the NFL.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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