Lets get one thing straight. Von Miller didn’t turn down $114.5 million. The vitriol being spewed in Miller’s direction is completely misguided. Had the Broncos offered Miller $114.5 million, there’s no doubt he’d have signed a long-term deal. But they didn’t.

In reality, Miller turned down a two-year, $39.8 million contract with the ability to make an extra $1.3 million in workout bonuses. Which, if you’re counting, is less money than the Broncos are going to pay Demaryius Thomas. Last season Thomas signed a five-year, $70 million deal with $43.5 million guaranteed.

That means John Elway and the Denver Broncos were willing to guarantee 62 percent of Thomas’ contract, but are only willing to guarantee 35 percent of the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s deal. That’s why Miller said thanks but no thanks.

If you watched the Super Bowl (or all of the NFL playoffs) there should be no doubt in your mind that Miller is a much more vital part of the Denver Broncos than Thomas. Miller deserves every penny he can squeeze out of John Elway. Get off his back.

On a side note, it’s hard to imagine why, when billionaire NFL owners fight with millionaire NFL players, that the general public sides with the billionaires. There isn’t another forum in society that this happens.

During the financial collapse when multi-millionaire CEOs were taking multi-million dollar bonuses and slashing pensions what was the public opinion? Surely it wasn’t, “Stop complaining! You should feel privileged to earn even some of those CEOs’ millions of dollars.”

When your friends and family are negotiating with their employers for a raise do you hope that their employer gets the better of those negotiations? Absolutely not. Then why do people expect NFL players to take it in the shorts when they’re ironing out their contracts? It’s completely hypocritical.

All of this stems from the simple fact that most people think professional athletes get paid too much for playing a sport. Fine, that’s a better argument. It may to be a stupid argument but at least it’s understandable, with one caveat.

If you believe NFL players are paid too much for playing a game then stop going to the games. Stop watching the games. Stop buying the merchandise, playing fantasy sports and buying the products that support the league. Until you stop feeding the machine that makes the NFL a multi-billion dollar industry your argument is hollow. Don’t hate the player; hate the game.

Back to Miller. No. 58 has proven that he’s the best at his profession. He is the best outside linebacker in the league; that’s not even debatable. All he is doing is asking to be compensated as such. That’s not a crazy request; it’s something every single person does in every other field.

The going rate for a pass-rusher of Miller’s skill is $52.5 million guaranteed. Justin Houston got that from the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants gave Olivier Vernon the same. Considering that Vernon is nowhere near the player that No. 58 is there’s no reason Miller should take anything less than $52.5 million guaranteed.

Miller is receiving undue criticism for doing something everyone does at their place of work – demanding fair market value. He isn’t blinded by greed; he’s making a reasonable request.

Don’t let anyone fool you; Miller didn’t turn down $114.5 million because the Broncos weren’t offering that. They offered him $39.8 millions dollars. Had Elway presented Miller with an MLB-type contract that was fully guaranteed at $114.5 million, he’d have signed it and done cartwheels out of Elway’s office. But, they didn’t and that’s an important fact people are forgetting.

The Denver Broncos offered Miller a contract that guarantees him $14 million less than a player (Vernon) who has 31 fewer career sacks than him. That’s ludicrous; Miller knows it and the sooner everyone throwing darts at him figures that out the sooner we can move on.

After carrying the Broncos through the NFL playoffs and practically winning them the Super Bowl single-handedly, Miller was recognized as a hometown hero. Letting his contract negotiations jade those feelings is silly. If anyone is at fault in this situation it’s the billion-dollar organization unwilling to give Miller the additional $14 million he’s earned.

Put your pitchforks away. Von Miller is simply demanding to be paid his worth. That isn’t greedy; it’s smart.