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From the Denver Broncos to the L.A. Rams: How the Von Miller trade went down – Denver Broncos Blog

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The trade of linebacker Von Miller from the Denver Broncos to the Los Angeles Rams came together during a frenzied weekend — before Broncos general manager George Paton had a chance to tell Miller or the Broncos coaches, players and staff and, perhaps most difficult of all, his son, Beau.

“He didn’t appreciate we traded Von Miller,” Paton said. “He’s still not talking to me. I get it. I understand the emotion in it.”

It was finalized Sunday and announced Monday.

Miller was the Broncos’ most decorated and longest-tenured player and is a sure bet for the team’s Ring of Fame. Paton, in his first year on the job, made the franchise-shaking move because he saw what he called a “win-win” opportunity. The Broncos received future draft capital in exchange for a 32-year-old player with an expiring contract. And Miller got the best situation possible as a reward for what he had done for the Broncos.

“We had teams call that were interested … but we wanted to do right by Von,” Paton said. “He’s done right by us for 11 years, we were going to do right, otherwise we weren’t going to trade him.”

After discussions with some in the league, as well what Paton said Tuesday after the trade deadline had passed, ESPN pieced together how the trade unfolded.

Friday

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Sam Acho explains what LB Von Miller brings to the Rams’ already impressive defense.

Paton said there was some contact from the Rams “late last week” and he had the first “in-depth” conversations with Rams general manager Les Snead Friday afternoon and into the evening about a potential deal.

There was the matter of Miller’s left ankle injury suffered in the Broncos’ loss in Cleveland — the same ankle Miller had surgery on last September, forcing him to miss the 2020 season. The Rams wanted some comfort level on the injury front and, because Miller had just over $9.7 million worth of his base salary owed to him this season, the Rams also needed financial help from the Broncos.

The Rams’ cap fit was so tight that a week earlier they had traded linebacker Kenny Young to the Broncos, which gave the Rams about $1.3 million in cap relief.

Paton weighed his desire for more draft picks with the fact Miller was in the last year of a six-year, $114.5 million deal he signed in July 2016. The Broncos wouldn’t get any better than a fifth-round compensatory pick if he went elsewhere in free agency.

“There was uncertainty [with the contract] … that was a layer, it was not the only thing, but it was a part of it,” Paton said.

Saturday

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Marcus Spears and Dan Orlovsky react to Von Miller being traded from the Broncos to the Rams.

Paton said he continued to talk to Snead through Saturday. During a brief time when he did not have a phone pressed against his ear, Paton had a chance to see an affirmation, up close and in person, of what Miller means to the Broncos’ faithful.

“My son had a playoff football game, Beau, he’s 12 years old and he had a playoff game, so I show up to the game and Von Miller is at the game,” Paton said. “… He was there to see [linebackers coach] John Pagano’s son play Pop Warner football.

“We were standing by Von, watching the game and a hundred kids came up to him — he signed every autograph and he offered to take selfies with every kid. Adults were coming up to him, this guy is a special player, a special person.”

Sunday

Miller did not play the afternoon game against Washington — a 17-10 Broncos win. After the game, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Miller was “not that close” to playing because of the ankle injury.

Paton said he spoke to Snead throughout Sunday and they ironed out all issues by Sunday night. The Broncos would send Miller to the Rams, pay $9 million of Miller’s remaining salary and the Rams would send the Broncos second- and third-round picks in the 2022 draft.

The draft picks, several personnel executives contacted Tuesday said, were a quality haul for Paton given Miller’s age and the fact he could move on from the cap-strapped Rams at the end of whatever becomes of their season.

After the final “yes” was exchanged from Paton and Snead, Paton said he realized what the trade would do once it became public due to Miller’s stature.

“No doubt, this wasn’t easy, I didn’t sleep Sunday night,” Paton said. “This was not easy, this guy’s an icon, he can still rush the passer. You just have to make — it’s a win-win — you have to make the best decision for your franchise moving forward and we just felt this was at this time.”

Monday

Paton said he didn’t tell Miller until Monday morning. He made sure to sit down, face-to-face, to let Miller know why the trade was made and what the Super Bowl 50 MVP had meant to the franchise.

“I met with Von, John Elway met with Von, [team president] Joe Ellis met with him and Vic met with him,” Paton said. “My conversation with him was honest, it was open, it was emotional. We talked about Von’s career about how far he’s come, we talked about our current team … we talked about the Rams and how he fits.

“We wanted to do right by Von, we sent him to a great franchise, a team that’s right in the thick of it. He’s really going to fit in there and really help with the second part of his career.”

Miller then had the chance to meet with and say goodbye to his teammates and coaches before he left the Broncos’ facility. He then made a nine-minute video with the Broncos’ digital media department to thank the fans.

Miller spoke briefly, fighting back tears at times, to a small group of local media on his way out the complex and that was that.

“That’s not easy … when you have to tell somebody like Von’s we’re trading him, that’s the hardest thing I have to do,” Paton said. “[Players] are human … this is his community, so I don’t take that lightly, that was a really hard conversation. … [But] if we had to trade him that was the type of a place where we wanted to trade.”



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Baltimore Ravens lose star CB Marlon Humphrey for rest of season because of torn pectoral muscle

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey was diagnosed with a season-ending, right pectoral muscle tear on Monday, perhaps the biggest loss in a season filled with injuries for the Baltimore Ravens.

Humphrey, 25, became the seventh starter (and third in the secondary) to get sidelined for the season for the Ravens (8-4), who cling to first place in the AFC North by one game. He was injured in Sunday’s 20-19 loss in Pittsburgh to the Steelers when he tried to tackle Diontae Johnson before the wide receiver scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

The loss of Humphrey is not only the latest blow, but perhaps also the most devastating one. A two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, Humphrey is the Ravens’ most talented defender, who can match up against the opposition’s top wide receiver and rip the ball away with his physical play. Since being the No. 16 overall pick in 2017, he is one of two NFL players with at least 50 passes broken up and 10 forced fumbles (safety Logan Ryan is the other).

Injuries have depleted a Baltimore team that has reached the playoffs the past three seasons. After Humphrey is placed on injured reserve, the Ravens will have $44.3 million of their salary cap on IR — which accounts for 25% of their cap.

Three of Baltimore’s players with the five biggest cap hits — offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley ($10.042 million), cornerback Marcus Peters ($9.968 million) and Humphrey ($8.44 million) — have suffered season-ending injuries. Overall, the Ravens have lost 11 players who will make more than $800,000 this season.

Baltimore has placed at least one player on injured reserve in four of the past five weeks. The Ravens’ total number of players on injured reserve will increase to 17 when Humphrey is added.

“I mean, we’ve got a lot of injuries, so we’ve been dealing with stress all season, and we’ve still been able to overcome it,” Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams said after Sunday’s game. “So, that’s what we plan on doing. It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality, so the show must go on. We pray that Marlon [Humphrey] makes it back. We pray that everybody who is down right now gets healed up, but we still have games to play. Next week, we have the [Cleveland] Browns, so we have to focus on that.”

With Humphrey out, the Ravens are expected to start Chris Westry in his spot, if he’s healthy. Westry was inactive Sunday with a thigh injury. Last week, all five cornerbacks on the 53-man roster missed at least one practice because of an injury or illness.

Through 11 games, the Ravens have lost three starters to season-ending injuries in the secondary: Humphrey, Peters (torn ACL) and safety DeShon Elliott (torn biceps). Strong safety Chuck Clark is the only remaining starter in the secondary from the beginning of the season.

Baltimore is allowing 272.4 yards passing (second-worst in the NFL). The Ravens finish the season against three top-10 rated quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow.

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Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas avoids ACL tear

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ASHBURN, Va., — The Washington Football Team received better-than-expected news on tight end Logan Thomas‘ injured left knee, coach Ron Rivera said, but that does not yet mean he’ll return this season.

Rivera said an MRI revealed that Thomas did not tear his ACL, as was originally feared, but that there was damage to his knee. Initial reports said Washington feared that he had torn both his ACL and MCL. A torn MCL would still require surgery and could sideline him for the rest of the season, barring a playoff run, according to a source.

Rivera said during a conference call that they were awaiting confirmation on the results and that he did “not want to get ahead of it” by saying how long Thomas would be out. Still, if further tests confirm no torn ACL then, if nothing else, it allows Thomas to recover well ahead of next season. That would be a big win for him and the organization.

Washington has won four in a row and currently owns the sixth playoff spot. Thomas already missed six games this season because of a hamstring injury, which landed him on injured reserve. If Washington placed Thomas on injured reserve again, he’d be done for the season.

The WFT also could opt to keep Thomas on the active roster, just in case he could return in four-to-six weeks for the playoffs. But it’s possible they might need that roster spot if more injuries hit.

Thomas was hurt with 10 minutes left in Sunday’s 17-15 win over the Las Vegas Raiders when defensive end Yannick Ngakoue went low as Thomas pulled from the opposite side to block him. Rivera said he wishes Ngakoue had used his hands to fight off Thomas rather than go low.

“It’s an unfortunate play,” Rivera said. “I felt it was something that was avoidable.”

Thomas was a key target for Washington, especially in the red zone, and had developed into a physical blocker. He caught a career-high 72 passes and six touchdowns last season, earning a three-year contract extension worth up to $24.05 million. In parts of six games this season, Thomas caught 18 passes, including three for scores. He leads all NFL tight ends since the start of last season with 151 yards receiving in the red zone. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, the former quarterback makes for a big target.

Washington should be helped this week with the expected return of tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who missed the last three games with a hip injury. It also has rookie John Bates, who has earned praise for his blocking in particular.

Rivera also said defensive end Montez Sweat, on injured reserve with a jaw injury, might be cleared to resume practice Wednesday. At that point Washington would have 21 days to activate him. Also, Rivera said he’s anticipating that safety/linebacker Landon Collins will return to practice Wednesday. He did not play Sunday because of a foot injury.

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Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule doesn’t regret hiring Joe Brady as offensive coordinator

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the decision to fire offensive coordinator Joe Brady on Sunday was “purely football.”

He made it clear there were no regrets in his 2020 decision to hire Brady, at the time the 30-year-old passing game coordinator for national champion LSU with no experience calling plays in the NFL or at any level.

“When I took the job I decided to be bold and step outside my comfort zone,” Rhule said on Monday. “I certainly don’t look at that as a mistake.”

Rhule wouldn’t go into specifics on what led to his decision, but he has been consistent the past month saying the Panthers needed to be more committed to the run and be better coming out of halftime.

The Panthers (5-7) had only a combined 39 rushes the past two games combined, including 18 in a loss to the Miami Dolphins before the bye week. Rhule said after an Oct. 17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings he wanted 30 to 33 rushes a game.

Brady also wasn’t effective at halftime adjustments. Carolina is averaging only 2.1 points in the third quarter to rank 31st in the NFL, with only Houston, at 1.8 points, worse.

Overall, the team ranks 29th in offense after ranking 21st a year ago in Brady’s first season as a play caller.

Rhule called Brady’s replacement, running backs coach Jeff Nixon, a “calming, steadying influence.”

Nixon was Rhule’s co-offensive coordinator at Baylor in 2019. That team averaged 36 rushes a game.

“He’s done a lot to get us moving in the right direction,” Rhule said of Brady, 32. “But this was something I felt from a football perspective had to be done.”

Rhule said he “anticipates” Cam Newton being his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. He also didn’t rule out mixing in PJ Walker, reminding that the former XFL star is 2-0 as a starter in the NFL.

Rhule said he had some “feelings” a change needed to be made at offensive coordinator coming off the Miami loss. He spent the week evaluating film not only of games, but practice.

He made the decision to fire Brady late last week. The two had a meeting scheduled for Saturday, but that was pushed to Sunday because Brady had a conflict.

Rhule made it clear the decision to move on from Brady was his and not a request from owner David Tepper. He said the meeting with Brady ended in a handshake and a hug.

“I hope this is the right move,” Rhule said. “It was purely football. This is in the best interest of us moving forward.”

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