The NFL runs a market-based economy, so when someone sets the market, others follow … unless your John Elway.

This offseason, while other franchises have been throwing money around like it has an expiration date, the Broncos have remained, let’s say, prudent. Within the Denver front office, Elway and Co. have set their own market, and they’ve been resistant to let outside factors affect their analysis.

So when Olivier Vernon, who’s yet to make so much as a Pro Bowl and has half the career sacks as Miller, gets $17 million a year and $52 million guaranteed, you can bet Von Miller‘s ears perked up. Talent wise, he’s in a whole other weight class; that contract should have propelled No. 58 towards one of the largest contracts in NFL history. Instead, Elway essentially said, “I don’t care,” and offered him a contract very similar to Vernon’s.

Last week, it was reported that the Broncos finally upped their offer to a six-year, $114.5 million deal (worth $19.1 million a year) with $38.5 million guaranteed. And while that sounds great at face value, and while it would make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, that low guarantee amount essentially makes the deal a two-year deal, giving the Broncos the ability to cut Von at no expense after that.

As you might expect, his camp demanded more, again pointing to Vernon who garnered $14 million more in guarantees a few months more, but the Broncos have yet to budge.

Maybe this will help:

That’s more like it.

Fletcher Cox‘s new deal gives Von and his camp one more round of ammunition in negotiations with Elway; the Broncos can only deny his market value for so long.

Like with Vernon, Fletcher, while great, is clearly not of Von Miller’s caliber, and yet he was able to cash in on $63 million guaranteed.

Right now, what Elway is trying to do is walk into a Best Buy and buy an 80-inch smart TV for $300; it’s not happening, and the more you try to persuade everyone that your offer is valid, the more people question your judgement entirely.

As our own Sean Walsh wrote yesterday, this isn’t just about Von Miller; it’s about all the potential free agents who may choose to pass on Denver because they don’t trust Elway and the front office to compensate them fairly.

Sooner than later, Elway needs to budge and give Miller roughly $60 million in guarantees. The moment that happens, a deal will get signed.