Sports

Von Miller Reportedly Traded to L.A. Rams

A screen capture from a 2016 NFL video spotlighting Von Miller's best sack dances.
A screen capture from a 2016 NFL video spotlighting Von Miller's best sack dances. NFL via YouTube
Adam Schefter, the de facto mouthpiece of the NFL (as we noted in a recent post about controversy surrounding the ESPN star), has tweeted that the sad, struggling Denver Broncos are finalizing a trade that will send Von Miller, the former Super Bowl MVP and face of the team in recent years, to the Los Angeles Rams for a couple of mid-round draft picks.

It's an ignominious end for one of the Broncos' all-time greats, who was the subject of trade rumors earlier this year owing to a still officially mysterious investigation by the Parker Police Department. But in the end, the criminal probe, which was dropped in early March, apparently played no role in Von Miller becoming Gone Miller. Instead, the key factors seem to be his expiring contract, his inability to stay healthy and the sinking fortunes of the team for which he's played his entire career.

Miller is not just a future Broncos Ring of Famer. In our view, he's a Hall of Fame lock. But he has underperformed in recent years and missed all of the 2020-2021 campaign with an ankle injury. Then, on January 15, the Parker PD's probe into Miller, for an allegation it never publicly disclosed, went public — and the inquiry quietly dragged on for nearly two months.

This brouhaha seemed perfectly timed for the Broncos to use as an excuse to dump Miller, who was entering the final year of a $114.5 million contract he inked in 2016. If he was on the roster, Von would count as $22.15 million toward the squad's salary cap; if he wasn't, the Broncos would save $18 million. But during a press conference on March 4, new general manager George Paton said he wanted Miller back in orange if the criminal matter could be put to bed — which it promptly was.

The next day, March 5, the Parker cops issued the following statement:
The Parker Police Department submitted a criminal case against Vonnie B’VSean Miller to this office. After reviewing all of the materials, the District Attorney’s Office of the 18th Judicial District has determined that no charges will be filed in this case.

The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function Standard 3-4.3 outlines the Minimum Requirements for Filing and Maintaining Criminal Charges. This standard notes:

“A prosecutor should seek or file criminal charges only if the prosecutor reasonably believes that the charges are supported by probable cause, that admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the decision to charge is in the interests of justice.”
Standard 3-4.3(a).

Based on our review of information that is currently available, we cannot meet that standard and must decline to file charges in this case.

It would be inappropriate to comment about details of an investigation in which there was never a citation, arrest or filing. The complainant, suspect and witnesses have a legitimate privacy interest and we will respect that.
After the Broncos picked up Miller's final-year option, a happy ending for his time in Denver seemed like an actual possibility. But while he started out the current campaign with several impressive sacks, another ankle problem (this one presumably less serious) put him on the shelf once again.

As a result, Schefter's tweet, time-stamped at 10:25 a.m. November 1, comes as no surprise. It reads: "Blockbuster: Broncos are finalizing a trade to send eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two second-day 2022 draft picks, league sources tell ESPN. Miller is now saying his goodbyes to his friends in the Broncos’ training facility."

At least Miller is going to a much better team: The Rams are legitimate championship contenders. And the Broncos? Despite a win against the Washington Football Team yesterday, October 31, even boosters can't stand the stench.

Congratulations, Von — for getting out while the getting was good.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts