Woody Paige: Time for Von Miller and Denver Broncos to move on after no charges filed

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Mar. 6—Von Miller is free without charges in a court case, but will the eight-time Pro Bowler become free without contract from the Broncos?

The Douglas County's district attorney's office stated Friday afternoon that no action will be taken against Miller, and no further comments will be issued in regard to a criminal investigation "in which there was never a citation, arrest or filing" or even an explanation.

Parker Police acted like Keystone Kops.

So, football is back to the front, and general manager George Paton and Miller and his agent must reach a decision by March 16 on the Broncos' preeminent edge rusher's future in Denver.

Paton said Thursday the Broncos would let the "legal process play out" before reaching any determination about the Broncos' all-time sack leader and Super Bowl 50 MVP. "We want to bring Von back."

The personal problem is settled without cause.

So, at what price Von?

The Broncos owe Miller $7 million before the free agency period begins in 10 days if they intend to keep him.

Paton can choose to pick up or decline the option guarantee. If the Broncos elect not to pay Von the $7 mil, he will become an unrestricted free agent. If they do pay, Miller, who will turn 32 on March 26, would be due — under the terms of the final season of a six-year, $114.5 million contract — a $500,000 workout bonus and $10 mil more for 2021. His salary cap number of $22.225 million also would include $4.225 million of restructured contract. If Von is released, the $4.225M is dead cap money.

The Broncos and Miller may renegotiate his deal, stretch it out two-three years and reduce his cap hit.

Paton and agent Joby Branion finally have started conversations.

Will Von be able to come back fully healthy from the severe ankle injury that forced him to miss the entire season, and return to the level he played at from 2014-2018 (62 sacks)? Or can Miller again ever be the 2012 version with 18 1/2 sacks, 55 solo tackles and six forced fumbles? Is he the Von of '19 with eight sacks, 33 solos and zero forced fumbles?

Is he the Von of old or an old Von?

Will offenses game plan, double-team and chip Von consistently; will he remain the second active sack man cometh (102), and does he continue on the path to the Hall of Fame?

Or has Von been surpassed by younger, faster, more dominant outside linebackers-defensive ends, who will be cheaper by the dozen in free agency.

Is he as good as Shaq Barrett, who the Broncos would not pay and play two years ago? Barrett, a free agent again, was a star with the Buccaneers Super Bowl champions, is 28 and will be up for a long-term average of $19 million a year?

Tough call for Paton, with Vic Fangio whispering in one ear and John Elway in the other.

Von was ill (COVID) and injured, then hurt by abuse allegations from his former girlfriend (who recanted claims), damaging reputation losses of corporate partners and a rather bizarre prejudicial police effort.

Jim Tsurapas, who was appointed interim, then permanent police chief in Parker last year, promised "transparency" in his department. "We've been a leader as a police organization in terms of policies. ... I think society is asking for more transparency from agencies."

Yet, in the high-profile situation involving Miller, police in the commuter community of 57,000 southeast of Denver, were opaque and ambiguous. Tsurapas never addressed it publicly, and his public "information" officer announced Jan. 15 that Miller was being probed, but the subject was unspecified. "The case currently is under investigation, and no information can be released at this time," Josh Hans said.

The police department submitted whatever "evidence" it had to the 18th Judicial District on Feb. 25, and the district attorney's office dumped it Friday. Miller's attorney is Harvey Steinberg, who has represented myriad Broncos players successfully.

After I contacted Parker police Saturday for a reaction to the district attorney's resolution, Hans replied in a text: "We cannot comment at this time."

So much for transparency.

The Miller Mystery lingers, and the Miller Matter with the Broncos will continue.

The best result for Von and the Broncos is they move on and he moves back home to Texas to play.