OLB Von Miller leading the LA Rams to the promised land

Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

What did you think about the LA Rams trade with the Denver Broncos for veteran outside linebacker Von Miller when the news was announced? While some commentators were pleased with the action to improve the team’s roster, others were a bit puzzled at the cost for one season. Still, others were a bit indignant, believing like the Broncos organization, that Von Miller was fading fast.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

To recap, the LA Rams sent a 2022 second-round and third-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Von Miller, and their willingness to pre-pay the bulk of his 2021 salary. That not only added an All-Pro caliber pass rusher at a time when the Rams were taking aim at some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but it did so at a cost of pennies on the dollar.

The Broncos are actually paying Von Miller to play for the LA Rams?! Talk about an incentive to make them regret their short-sightedness?

Broncos paid Von Miller to play for the LA Rams

The Rams kicked in the extra 2022 third-round draft pick to compensate the Broncos for pre-paying Millers’ 2021 remaining salary. That creative thinking outside the box has allowed this team to add an All-Pro talent at an undrafted rookie’s cost. Pretty ingenious, eh?

How has he done? Well, spectacularly seems a bit of an understatement.

In eight regular-season games and two playoff games, Von Miller is back to his prime-time form. Football is fun again, and it shows. He racked up 31 tackles, five quarterback sacks, nine quarterback hits, one pass deflection, one forced fumble, and 12 tackles for a loss. In two playoff games, he has chalked up 10 tackles, two quarterback sacks, three tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

In ten games: 41 tackles, 7 QB sacks, 15 TFLs, 2 FF, 1 PD, and 1 FR

That’s on par with some of his best seasons. But he has helped the entire defense show up large as well.

Show us the data

So let’s do a bit of comparison? Let’s detail the before and after of Von Miller’s presence on the season’s of the Rams pass rushers:

Player                            Before 9 gms          After  8 gms       Playoffs 2 gms
Von Miller                     4.5 sks/19 tkls        5.0 sks/31 tkls    2.0 sks/10 tkls
Aaron Donald               6.0 sks/37 tkls        6.5 sks/47 tkls   1.5 sks/6 tkls
Leonard Floyd              7.5 sks/40 tkls        2.0 sks/30 tkls   1.0 sks/7 tkls
Greg Gaines                  1.0 sks/23 tkls        3.5 sks/32 tkls    0.5 sks/6 tkls
A’Shawn Robinson      0.0 sks/29 tkls        2.0 sks/38 tkls    0.0 sks/10 tkls

While it appears that the Rams have gained some production from Von Miller at the cost of Leonard Floyd,  the overall effect has been a rather impressive surge across the entire defensive front for the Rams. Eventually, offensive linemen will need to shift to blocking Von Miller, who has a six-game streak of getting at least one quarterback sack.

When that happens, you can look for Aaron Donald and/or Leonard Floyd to have big games.

In the end, was that trade worth it? Check this out:

In the end, Von Miller is a class act. He simply embodies the purest of NFL athleticism and fair play. But even more than his off-field personality.

He is a leader-by-example on the football field. And the LA Rams are certain to have him for this season only. Let’s hope that the team, and Von Miller, get the most out of it.

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