By John Boyle
Seahawks tight end Zach Miller was under contract beyond the 2013 season, but there was real doubt as to whether he would be back in Seattle next season because of the size of said contract.
Now it’s safe to assume Miller will be back in 2014, and likely the following season as well having agreed to a restructured two-year deal that will see him take a significant pay cut. A team spokesman confirmed Miller and the Seahawks have agreed to a new deal, news that was first reported by Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle. Miller will now make $3 million in 2014, according to O’Neil, with incentives that would allow him to earn up to $4 million.
Miller, who was one of two big free agent acquisitions in 2011 along with Sidney Rice, had been scheduled to make $5.8 million in 2014, including a $1 million roster bonus due next week, and count $7 million towards the salary cap.
Keeping Miller is a big boost for a team that otherwise had only Luke Willson and Anthony McCoy, who missed all of last season with an Achilles injury, under contract at tight end. Miller has not produced the pass-catching numbers in Seattle that he put up in Oakland—he had 182 catches in his last three years with the Raiders and 96 in three with Seattle—but has nonetheless been a vital part of the offense as a blocker both in the running game and pass protection. And despite limited production, Miller was still one of Russell Wilson’s favorite red-zone targets, hauling in five touchdown catches last year.
The Seahawks have also been in talks with free agent tight end Jermichael Finley, who is coming off a serious neck injury, and while Miller’s new deal likely decreases the chances of Finley coming to Seattle, it certainly doesn’t rule it out. While Miller excels as a blocker lining up next to a tackle, Finley falls more into the hybrid “move” tight end mold as a player better suited for pass catching that blocking.