Mack to Chargers means LA Rams close to deal for Von Miller

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams remain in hot pursuit of a free agent veteran outside linebacker Von Miller. To many teams, he is a productive veteran who can help their team compete against the fiercest opposition, and help them to win games that they would not without him. But for the Rams, he is one of the rare pieces necessary to complete their defensive picture. He is a game-changer, both on and off the field. And he elevates the play of teammate Aaron Donald.

The pursuit of free agent veteran outside linebacker Von Miller has been quite the headliner so far. The reason is that one of the most dominant outside linebackers to ever play the game finished his 2021 NFL season, and last year under his former contract, by helping the LA Rams win nine of their last ten games, including three playoff games and Super Bowl LVI.

Of course, adding Miller to the Rams roster last year meant that the Rams had traded both their 2022 second-round and third-round picks to the Denver Broncos. What did that trade look like? The traded second-round pick was for the player. The traded third-round pick was to prompt the Broncos to pre-pay $9 million of Von Miller’s 2021 NFL salary. So the deal looked like this.

The reason that deal was important to see in detail will be explained in a future article. For now, it is enough to know that the Rams bolstered the defense by adding an All-Pro veteran pass rusher to a team that was in the chase for a Super Bowl.

The gamble paid off, the LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI, and the Rams organization is now in hot pursuit of re-signing players who made significant contributions mid-season to get the team over the hump. The team appears to be near an agreement, in kind, with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.  But indications of progress with the extension for Miller have been getting mixed signals. Well, until now.

Four teams now down to one and a half?

Four teams were known to be in ‘the hunt’ for Von Miller this off-season. They were the Green Bay Packers, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Denver Broncos, and the LA Rams. As of today, it seems as though the LA Rams stand alone. Why?

The Green Bay Packers will sign QB Aaron Rodgers to a record-setting contract extension.
The Denver Broncos traded for Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and absorbed his $24 million salary-cap hit.
And now, the LA Chargers have traded for outside linebacker Khalil Mack with the Chicago Bears.

The Packers have focused their dollars toward their offense. The Chargers have added a different outside linebacker. And while the news over Von Miller seemed to be about 50/50, the LA Rams remain confident that they will make the numbers work.

The two biggest wildcards over Von Miller in my opinion were the Broncos and the Chargers. The Broncos had the sentimental edge, the heartstrings that continued to tug at Miller’s heart even after being traded. Denver was home, was comfy and familiar, and was where he had spent the entirety of his NFL career.

But the LA Chargers offered a new intrigue. He could reunite with his former positional coach, Brandon Staley. He could join a new team ‘in the hunt,’ for a Super Bowl. And he could remain in Los Angeles to do so.

The Chargers and Packers are out of the Von Miller sweepstakes in my mind. And the sense that I have, despite the way Von Miller has expressed himself on social media, is that the Rams are indeed very close to nailing this one down.

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