What a difference a week makes! Last Monday, the Broncos and Von Miller were all smiles at the White House, talking about how they were encouraged that negotiations on a new contract for the linebacker were headed in the right direction.

Fast forward seven days and things have seemingly taken an ugly turn. The team (allegedly) leaking contract details to the media, pulled their latest offer off the table and announced that they were turning their attention to working out deals with Brandon Marshall and Emmanuel Sanders, the latter of which isn’t even a free agent. In response, Miller reposted a photo of the team’s big names standing on President Obama’s lawn that had John Elway, Denver’s general manager, cropped out of it.

And everyone freaked out. Stories circulated that the linebacker might sit out the entire 2016 season. People started to worry that the team was unraveling. And fans began to take sides, either calling Miller “greedy” or the Broncos “cheap” in the process.

This all seemed like a grand overreaction, given the position of both parties last Monday and how much they had already agreed to on the new contract. The length of the deal (six years) was fine, as was the total dollar amount ($114.5 million). The only thing that needed to be hammered out, which was a big detail, was the number of guaranteed years; the Broncos wanted it to be two, while Miller wanted three.

That seems like something that can be hammered out; one final detail doesn’t seem like an impasse. But it certainly seemed to turn into one during the course of the last seven days.

That’s because, as is often the case, people are focusing on the wrong things. They’re distracted by the flashy story instead of looking at what’s really going on; they’re chasing rumors rather than digging into the details.

In the end, there’s only one question that needs to be asked: Why don’t the Broncos want to guarantee the third year of Von Miller’s contract?

It certainly isn’t because the linebacker hasn’t earned it; it’d be difficult to come up with a scenario in which a player was more deserving of a big contract, given that Miller is the reigning Super Bowl MVP. And it’s not as though the most-notable athlete in Denver is seeking something beyond the market value; other great, and some not-so-great, defensive players have garnered deals with guarantees of three years and $50 million or more. So check that one off the list.

Another theory is that the Broncos don’t trust Miller; the thought is the team is still gun shy of making a commitment to a guy who was once a single misstep away from being banned – with a chance to file for reinstatement after a year – from the NFL for life. But that seems like a copout at this point; after all, the linebacker has become the prime example of how someone can grow up, mature and turn their life around. He’s proven to be a great leader, saying and doing all the right things, and he’s worked his way out of the league’s drug-testing program. Strike that option, as well.

One concept that has been kicked around is that the Broncos are simply planning ahead; they’re making sure they have the salary cap flexibility in 2018 to keep their roster intact. Of course, this is the same notion that’s been put forth the past couple of years; previous free agents walked because Denver needed to “save money for the Thomases” and “have room for Von.” Those ideas didn’t exactly pan out. Plus, there aren’t really any huge names on the roster that will be unrestricted free agents in two years; Bradley Roby is the most-likely guy to attract big offers, given the importance of the cornerback position. But with the salary cap increasing every year, plus some of the big numbers coming off the books in the next season or two, there will be plenty of room to get that deal done. That one is a no-go, too.

So what’s the real reason why the Broncos don’t want to give Miller a third guaranteed year? Math. And money. But mostly the math associated with the money.

When an NFL team signs a player to a contract that includes guaranteed dollars, the franchise is required by the league to put all of the guaranteed money into an escrow account; it’s an outdated rule that was put in place to prevent guys from getting left out in the cold if a team became insolvent. As a result, the Broncos would have to scratch a check for $60 million the day they inked Miller to the deal he wants; they’d have to have that kind of cash in the bank, ready to be put somewhere that they can’t touch it. That’s a tough pill to swallow for any team; it’s especially difficult for a franchise that has historically been tight on cash.

This has been evident the last three times the Broncos used the franchise tag. For Matt Prater (2012), Ryan Clady and Demaryius Thomas (2015), the team waited until the very last minute to sign their star players to a long-term contract; instead of getting a deal done in March, Denver stretched negotiations out until mid-July before giving those three the deals they deserved. Odds are, the same thing is going to happen with Miller; it’ll be an upset if he’s not inked to a multi-year contract by the league’s July 15 deadline for signing franchise tagged players to long-term agreements.

It’s always seemed odd that the team wouldn’t handle things that way; if they’re going to sign the players to a multi-year contract, doing it early enough to get them into OTAs and minicamps would make sense. But that would have required writing some hefty checks in March for all of the guaranteed money included in those deals. From a business standpoint, it made more sense to scratch those payments in July when the team had collected all of its TV money, season ticket sales, sponsorship dollars, etc. Why let someone else work on that kind of dough for 120 days?

So while it’s fun to talk about leaking information to the media and cropping the general manager out of a photo, those things are simply a sideshow to the relatively boring mechanics of what’s really going on in the Miller situation. It makes no sense for the Broncos to let $60 million sit in escrow for four months longer than they have to.

An old, antiquated rule – seriously, what are the chances of an NFL team going belly up in 2016? – is why Von Miller isn’t signed yet. That’s not a juicy reason, but it’s the real one.