Zach Miller staying in Seattle, agrees to restructured deal
Miller’s restructured contract had been in the making since the start of the off-season. However, there was always a possibility that Miller could become a cap causality if he weren’t willing to make some concessions, in the form of a restructured contract.
The veteran tight end had two more years to go on the $34 million contract he signed with the Seahawks before the 2011 season. Miller had a $5.8 million price tag for 2014 and along with the $1 million roster bonus due next week he would have counted $ 7 million against the salary cap. The following year, Miller would have been owed another $5.8 million which would mean a $6 million cap number in 2015. The new restructured deal essentially cuts Miller’s base salary to half of what was due this year, while having the bonus of being incentive-packed. It could allow him to earn up to $4 million. Miller can earn the up to the same amount in the second year of the restructured contract as well. As a result, Miller has decided to remain in Seattle for the full five years, and take a pay cut to the $34 million owed to him under the original deal.
Retaining Miller is a big boost to the Seahawks’ tight end corps that featured only second-year pro Luke Willson and veteran Anthony McCoy from last year’s active roster. McCoy missed the entire 2013 season due to an Achilles tendon injury. Miller is regarded as one of the league’s best blocking tight ends and is crucial to the Seahawks’ run-first offense. He started in all three games for the Seahawks during the 2013 post-season and was on field for 58-of 60-snaps during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl defeat of the Denver Broncos.
Even though in the long run Miller has not been able to produce the pass-catching numbers in Seattle that he once put up during his time with Oakland Raiders, he has still been one of the favourite red-zone targets of Seahawks’ third-year quarterback Russell Wilson. Last season Miller hauled in 33 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns over 14-regular season games for the Seahawks. In his three seasons with the team, Miller caught a total of 96 passes.
The Seahawks also brought Green Bay Packers free agent Jermichael Finley – who is coming off a serious neck injury that required surgery – in for a visit earlier this week. Although Miller’s restructured deal likely decreases the chances of Finely coming to Seattle, it doesn’t necessarily rule them out or imply that talks with Finley broke down. According to multiple reports, the Seahawks continue to eye the prospect of adding Finley to their tight ends group on the roster.
While Miller has been a vital part of the Seahawks’ offense and particularly excels as a blocker lining up next to a tackle, Finley could serve more as a hybrid “move” tight end who is a better fit for pass catching.