WASHINGTON -- Fresh off meeting President Barack Obama face-to-face Monday, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller said his representatives and the team have made "real progress'' toward a long-term contract.
Miller, who has been designated as the team's franchise player, has not attended the Broncos' offseason program, but he joined the team for its White House ceremony Monday as Super Bowl 50 winner.
"We've made real progress over last couple of days and I'm very optimistic about the whole thing so, yeah, I remain optimistic about everything,'' Miller said following the event in the Rose Garden.
Both Miller and Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway have consistently expressed optimism a long-term deal would get done. But Miller's proclamation that progress had been made in recent days was the most specific commentary that has been offered.
The two sides are on good enough footing that Miller was on the team's chartered flight from Denver to Washington Monday and returned to Denver with the team as well. Miller said following the ceremony he didn't want to miss an opportunity to be with the team and meet the president.
"I just felt complete, felt back at home, felt normal for the first time in the last couple of months,'' Miller said. "This is where I'm myself, when I'm with my teammates, with my boys. It's a special day for me and look forward to having more special days.''
On meeting the president, Miller added, "It felt surreal ... when he's right there, he's all that and more ... President Obama is my type of guy, he would fit in the locker room with us any day.''
As the Broncos' designated franchise player, Miller has been tendered a guaranteed one-year offer of just over $14 million. As the "exclusive rights" franchise player he can negotiate only with the Broncos and can receive offers from no other teams.
He has not signed the tender, however, and has not participated in any of the team's offseason work. To get a long-term deal done before the start of the 2016 season, the two sides must meet the league-imposed July 15 deadline for franchise players.
Immediately following the draft, Elway said: "I hope so ... we want to get something done ... Von knows how I feel about him, he knows how the Denver Broncos feel about him.''
The talks over Miller's deal will continue to center on the guaranteed money, especially the up-front cash Miller would receive. Before the draft, the Broncos had made one formal contract proposal to Miller, and Miller's representatives had made one formal counterproposal to the Broncos.
The Broncos' initial discussions centered on a deal that averages $18 million overall, including the guaranteed money. The Broncos have looked at Justin Houston's $52.5 million guaranteed in a six-year, $101 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs -- Olivier Vernon also got $52.5 million guaranteed in his deal from the New York Giants in March -- in their assessment of how much guaranteed money to offer.
Miller and his representatives have eyed something more on the order of the $60 million guaranteed in Marcell Dareus' six-year, $96.57 million deal with the Buffalo Bills or Ndamukong Suh's six-year, $114.4 million deal with the Miami Dolphins that included $59.96 million in guaranteed money.
The Broncos will also have to do some salary-cap work to get Miller's deal done. According to NFL Players Association figures this week, the Broncos have $6.57 million worth of salary-cap space with the ability to create as much as $9.1 million more by using a clause already in Demaryius Thomas' contract to turn base salary into a signing bonus.