ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The scrum of television cameras and reporters hovering around Von Miller started to clear away Wednesday afternoon, but the Denver Broncos' star pass rusher had a question.
"Doesn't anyone want to know about the chickens?" Miller said.
The mercurial pass rusher, who is set to make his full return from reconstructive knee surgery Sunday, said he recently downsized his Texas flock, from 60 birds to 40, though he still dreams about taking his business big-time.
"You get me one of those J.J. Watt deals, and I'll go commercial," Miller said.
Yes, Miller absolutely was paying attention this week when Watt received his megadeal (six years and worth up to $100 million) from the Houston Texans. Miller and Watt were both drafted in 2011 — Miller at No. 2 and Watt at No. 11 — and both have already proven to be among the NFL's best defensive players.
Miller would even argue that Watt is among the most valuable players in the NFL, period.
"He's underpaid in my opinion. What he does for the Texans, no one else does that for their organization," Miller said. "None of the big-time quarterbacks that are getting the big-time deals do. J.J. Watt deserves a similar deal. He does everything on the field, everything off the field. It was well deserved. I think he should have gotten more."
So if Miller thinks Watt is underpaid on a deal that may pay nine figures — and includes more than $51 million in guarantees — what could that mean for Miller's next contract?
It's complicated. With Miller, the Broncos have to consider the six-game suspension he served last season, punishment for multiple violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Watt has a spotless record off the field.
If Miller's reputation was as clean as Watt's perhaps he could be pushing for a new deal now, even with two seasons left on his rookie contract. Denver picked up Miller's fifth-year option in the offseason, keeping him under contract through 2015.
"We've got great guys in the front office. I've got great guys that represent me. I'll let them take care of it," Miller said.