Imagine John Elway picks up the phone and calls Kevin Colbert with an offer. Elway says ” I can’t get Vonn Miller signed, I need to move him. Would you give me Le’veon Bell back in return for Miller?” What would Colbert say in response? It’s a fascinating scenario, but one that is a long shot at best. If I’m Colbert, I jump at the chance to add the premiere edge rusher in the NFL. Vonn Miller could have the same devastating impact for Pittsburgh, as he did in Denver on their Super Bowl run.
The Steelers do not have anything approaching a capable edge rusher, that’s just a fact. Thirty eight year old James Harrison led the outside linebackers in sacks last season with just five. Vonn Miller had 11 sacks during the regular season, and 5 more during the playoffs. His affect on the defense goes beyond just his personal stats. Having one reliable pass rusher would open up all kinds of possibilities for Pittsburgh. For one, Bud Dupree would benefit from getting far less attention in blocking schemes. This would allow him to flourish without the pressure of being the only real pass rushing threat. The secondary would also stand to gain from the addition of Miller. A good rush makes any secondary better, let alone one that is so inexperienced like Pittsburgh has. Not to mention the Steelers could afford to blitz less, leaving more players in coverage. Upgrading the outside linebacker position with a player like Miller really is a “fix-all”. It would take the Steelers defense from average to very good in one bold move.
There are a few drawbacks for Pittsburgh in a deal like this. The obvious one is losing the best running back in football. Nobody questions when Le’veon Bell is healthy, he is a special talent. That’s the rub, Bell been unable to stay healthy in his short career. Some argue that he’s not injury prone, rather he’s just been very unlucky. Either way these injuries have a cumulative effect on a player especially at that position. Then there’s the looming marijuana cloud hanging over him….(pun intended). Anybody else concerned that a player with one suspension for pot is making rap albums with Snoop Dog??? This seems like a suspension number two waiting to happen, and with Martavis Bryant already out for the year the Steelers can not afford another. The other cause for concern is getting Miller signed to a long term deal. He’s already turned down a 6 year deal with 38.5 guaranteed from the Broncos. Pittsburgh would have to clear a substantial amount of money under the cap to get enough room to sign Miller. There are ways for this to be done, including restructuring Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Heyward.
Big trades like this rarely go down in the NFL, and even rarer that the Steelers would make such a move. Denver needs to start rebuilding after a terrible offseason that saw them lose many key players. To start off with Peyton Manning retired, and Brock Osweiler signed with the Texans. Add to that Malik Jackson signing in Jacksonville and C.J. Anderson signing in Miami, and you see it’s time for the Broncos to reload. All this may make Denver willing to think outside the box, the question is whether Kevin Colbert would be willing to as well.