Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith

Jun 14, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) looks on during minicamp at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) looks on during minicamp at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Von Miller plans on playing in Western New York for the duration of his six-year contract and is taking inspiration from a Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Famer.

The Buffalo Bills had the number one defense last season in both points and yards allowed, but their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs showed there’s still work to be done. Enter Von Miller, who was signed to a six-year, $120 million contract.

The addition shows the Bills mean business, as they aim to finally return to the Super Bowl and potentially win their first ever championship. The question is, how much of an impact will Miller have on the team?

Any concerns about the 33-year-old’s age can probably be dismissed, given his play last season. He was particularly dominant in the postseason as he tallied four sacks, including two in the Super Bowl, to help the Rams win it all.

Miller will continue to use his explosive speed and footballing IQ in Western New York, with the Bills reaping the benefits. The real question should be in relation to how much of his six-year deal he will be around for?

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As per Spotrac, Miller’s contract includes a signing bonus of $18.525 million and $51.435 million guaranteed over the next three seasons. The crucial detail is that there is no guaranteed money after the 2024 campaign.

From the Bills’ perspective this makes good business sense, as the Super Bowl 50 MVP will turn 36 before the start of the 2025 season. However, as far as the player himself is concerned, he plans to play out all six years in Buffalo.

In this respect, Miller has taken some inspiration from a couple of NFL legends, including a Bills’ Hall of Famer. As per Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, he said:

"“I’m trying to play the whole thing out. Tom Brady’s done it, Bruce Smith has done it. All the guys that I look up to when it comes to longevity in careers. So I just take it one day at a time, and I’m just gonna take whatever God gives me. My intention is to play the whole thing out. I’m a real sicko when you get to know me. My mindset is different.”"

Bruce Smith played 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, before finishing his career with four years in Washington. He retired at the age of 40 with an NFL record of 200 sacks, which stands to this day.

By comparison, Miller has so far played 10 seasons in the NFL — he missed the entire 2020 campaign through injury — and has a career total of 115.5 sacks. For what it’s worth, his 10th year in the NFL is comparable to Smith’s in terms of regular season sacks, with 9.5 and 10.0 respectively.

There is plenty of evidence the three-time First-team All-Pro can still produce at an effective level, specifically considering he is an elite player at his position. Players such as Smith, Kevin Greene, Chris Doleman and Reggie White were all still extremely productive once they hit Miller’s age.

Of course, there is more to the game than just sacks and in this respect, Miller still has a lot to offer. For example, last season he tied for the second-most tackles for losses in his career, at 19.

The other aspect which will have to be considered, is the eight-time Pro Bowler’s durability. Will he be able to remain healthy as he advances through his thirties?

If nothing else, Miller has the mindset which tells you he is going to be playing — and producing — for a while yet. As per Gaughan, he said:

"“I think mentally, once you start feeling old, it’s just done. I’ve been in the league a long time and when guys start complaining about, of course you’re gonna have injuries and stuff, but when guys start complaining about, man it’s cold out here. Or we got practice again today. Or just little things that I just try to stay out of. I try to keep my mind positive. Of course, I’m getting older. But I don’t feel 33 at all … When I’m running out here with the guys, I make it a point to show to my teammates and earn their trust that hey, I’m 33 years old but I can run with you. I can run with anybody and I’m healthy and I take care of my body.”"

In Miller, there is no doubt the Bills made a well-planned gamble in signing him. The signs indicate it was a risk worth taking, bringing in a talented, motivated, intelligent player who knows what it takes to win the Super Bowl.

light. More. Most of Bills' new stadium funding will come from public

How much impact do you predict Miller will have for the Buffalo Bills? Is he the final piece of the puzzle which helps the team make it to the Super Bowl and potentially win their first ever championship? Let us know in the comments section below.