This all sounds eerily familiar. Monday, when the Broncos begin their offseason workouts, a key member of the franchise won’t be on hand. Why? Because he’s unwilling to sign the franchise tag tender that the team gave him in March; instead, the star player would like a multi-year deal that is more in line with his value on the open market.

In the six seasons that John Elway has been at the helm in Denver, this is the fourth time such a scenario has unfolded. Previously, the Broncos GM stalled contract negotiations with Matt Prater, Ryan Clady and Demaryius Thomas, using the franchise tag to delay signing those players to long-term deals until July; all four missed the team’s offseason program while the awaited a new contract.

Now, the same thing is unfolding with Von Miller; Denver isn’t willing to meet the demands of the Super Bowl 50 MVP, so they’ve used the franchise tag as a way of buying more time while they try to hammer out a new deal. In the meantime, the face of the franchise – and the biggest star on the Colorado sports landscape – won’t be on hand when the Broncos begin their quest to defend last year’s championship.

While that situation doesn’t necessarily spell doom, it certainly isn’t ideal. Having players take part in the team’s offseason program is important; if it wasn’t, there’s no reason to conduct the workouts. So Miller’s absence is a negative; it’s getting the 2016 season off on the wrong foot. And the stalemate is completely unnecessary.

But don’t blame Miller for not being there today when his teammates gather at Dove Valley for day one of OTAs; he’s simply doing what almost every other player placed in a similar situation has done. Instead, point an accusatory finger at the Broncos; they’re the ones preventing this situation from being resolved.

Thus far, Elway and Company have lowballed Miller during contract negotiations. According to reports, their latest offer is for between $17 and $18 million per season; those are hefty numbers, until they are compared with what other defensive players have received when they’ve hit the open market.

Last year, Ndamukong Suh fetched a six-year deal totaling more than $114 million; that’s an average salary of just north of $19 million per season, with nearly $60 million of the contract fully guaranteed. As a result, those terms have become the new benchmark; there’s no reason for someone more accomplished than Suh to settle for an offer less than what the defensive tackle received in 2015.

For all his greatness as a player, Suh has never come close to having the kind of impact Miller has had on his team. In Detroit, he was more notorious for putting his team in bad situations, getting suspended for actions that the league deemed dirty, than for leading the Lions to any sort of on-field success during his five seasons in the Motor City.

But that’s not the only contract Miller is using as a point of reference; earlier this offseason, pass rusher Olivier Vernon inked a five-year, $85 million deal with the Giants. New York was so desperate to land his services that they were willing to guarantee a record $52.5 million, while also putting a staggering $29 million in the defensive end’s pocket in 2016 alone.

During his four seasons in Miami, Vernon was a good pass rusher; he posted 29 sacks, including a career high 11.5 in 2013. But those numbers pale in comparison to what Miller has done; during his first five years with the Broncos, the linebacker has totaled 60 sacks.

Those aren’t the only deals, however, that can be used as a baseline for Miller’s new contract. Two other players of similar stature have signed contracts in the past two years that should provide the Broncos with a framework for how to keep their star happy.

In 2014, J.J. Watt signed a six-year, $100 million contract with the Texans; the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is one of the few players who can singlehandedly take over games in the way Miller has proven he can do, although Watt hasn’t been as dominant in playoff games. And last season, Justin Houston inked a six-year, $101 million deal with the Chiefs; during the last five seasons, the Kansas City linebacker has recorded 56 sacks.

Given that Miller is more accomplished than every player who has cashed in of late – with his postseason success outweighing the hardware in Watt’s trophy case – there’s no reason why he should settle for anything less than what they’ve received. Six years, $120 million with $60 million guaranteed would get it done; that would make Miller the highest-paid defensive player in league history, an honor that he’s certainly earned.

So what’s the holdup?

Essentially, there are two excuses that the Broncos will float when trying to justify their unwillingness to meet Miller’s contract demands. First, they’ll cite salary cap issues. Second, they’ll drop hints about character issues. Neither should pass the BS meter.

By trading Clady last week, the Broncos freed up nearly $9 million in cap space. And if they restructured Thomas’ contract, they could create another cushion of roughly $9 million. In other words, there’s plenty of room to fit a mega-contract into the team’s current structure.

Of course, cap space is a different animal than actual cold, hard cash. Redoing DT’s deal would mean writing the wide receiver a hefty upfront check, while any contract for Miller would also almost certainly include a big payday at signing. Given that NFL franchises are virtual cash cows, especially ones coming off of a Super Bowl title, the green is there to make these things happen, however.

But as flimsy as the money excuse is for not signing Miller, it pales in comparison to the questions of his character. Yes, the linebacker had some struggles early in his career, most notably winding up in the NFL’s substance abuse program due to his penchant for a recreational activity that is now legal in Colorado. But those troubles are behind him.

Last year, the league gave Miller a get-out-of-jail free card, removing him from their testing program because of his exemplary behavior. And in the past few months, while taking part in a whirlwind tour to celebrate his MVP performance in Super Bowl 50, the linebacker has been a model citizen; there have been no signs that his coast-to-coast media tour has led to any misbehavior. At what point will he be forgiven for his past transgressions?

In other words, there’s no reason not to give Miller a big-money contract. His play on the field has warranted it. The market has already been set by other (less-accomplished) players. And there aren’t any red flags that would suggest it’s any bigger gamble that other hefty contracts.

So it should be done. And Miller should be at Dove Valley this week for the start of OTAs. Instead, he’s ensnared in a stare down with Elway. And the Broncos are beginning their title defense at less than full strength.

Just don’t blame Miller for that fact. This is a pattern in Denver, one that hasn’t produced positive results in the past. So it’s mind numbing that the team is once again in this situation.

Von Miller has earned his jackpot. It’s time for the Broncos to cash in his ticket.