Bills make it Von Miller-time in Buffalo; sign Howard, too
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — It’s Von Miller time in Buffalo.
The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and coming off his second Super Bowl title agreed to a six-year contract with the Bills on Wednesday. Miller is an 11-year NFL veteran who spent his first 10-plus seasons in Denver before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams last season and winning the NFL championship.
At 32, Miller brings a veteran presence to a young group of starting linebackers made up of Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. With Buffalo playing a hybrid style defense, there’s a chance for Miller to provide an outside pass-rushing presence. He has 115 1/2 career sacks.
Though listed as a linebacker throughout his career, Miller was referred to as a defensive end by Buffalo.
The Bills also announced reaching a one-year agreement to sign tight O.J. Howard, who spent his first five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The splashy additions came on the opening day of free agency, and were made by the two-time defending AFC East champions who had very little room to maneuver under the salary cap. The Bills opened the day by restructuring the contract of safety Micah Hyde to free up about $4.5 million in salary cap space.
Miller joins a defense which allowed the fewest yards in the NFL last season, but unraveled in a 42-36 overtime loss to Kansas City in an AFC divisional playoff game. With 13 seconds remaining, Buffalo allowed the Chiefs to gain 31 yards on two plays to set up Harrison Butker’s 49-yard field goal as time expired.
Kansas City then opened overtime by marching 75 yards on eight plays to win the game on Travis Kelce’s 8-yard touchdown catch.
Miller had four sacks in four playoffs games with Los Angeles, including two in the Rams’ 23-20 Super Bowl win over Cincinnati.
The rebuilding Broncos traded Miller to Los Angeles on Nov. 2 while he had been nursing an ankle injury. He forced a fumble and had five sacks in eight starts with Los Angeles.
Miller joins a new-look Bills defense which added bulk up front by agreeing to sign defensive tackles JaQuan Jones and Tim Settle in free agency. The two replace the loss of Harrison Phillips.
Miller’s addition also makes it uncertain whether the Bills will re-sign pass rusher Jerry Hughes, who completed the final year of his contract after spending the past nine seasons in Buffalo.
Buffalo also wound up with additional space under the cap when free-agent running J.D. McKissic reversed his decision to sign with the Bills to instead remain in Washington.
Howard adds a pass-catching presence to an offense that stands to lose receivers Emmanuel Sanders, who is contemplating retirement, and Cole Beasley, who has been granted permission to negotiate a trade.
Howard had 14 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown last season while overshadowed mostly by Rob Gronkowski’s presence. A former first-round draft pick out of Alabama, Howard’s best season came in 2018, when he 34 catches for 565 yards and five TDs.
He has the potential of lining up opposite Dawson Knox, who is coming off a career year with 49 catches, 587 yards and nine touchdowns.
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