Tight end Zach Miller agreed to restructure his contract as expected, the Seahawks confirmed Saturday. Miller’s restructured deal likely assures that he will stay with the Seahawks through 2015 while also providing Seattle with some salary-cap relief.
Miller was due to make $5.8 million in 2014, including a $1 million roster bonus due Thursday that would have meant a $7 million salary-cap hit. He then would have been owed another $5.8 million with a $6 million cap number in 2015.
The news was first reported by MyNorthwest.com. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that the new deal calls for Miller to make $3 million each year with incentives that could push it to $4 million.
Miller was Seattle’s highest-paid player in 2013 and also the highest-paid tight end in the league. Miller caught 33 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns last season, and his lack of offensive production has been a topic of conversation among fans since he signed a $34 million, five-year deal in 2011. But Miller’s value goes beyond his numbers, though his new contract more accurately reflects his production. He is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, and he helped shore up Seattle’s blocking when injuries left the offensive line vulnerable last season. When teammates and coaches talk about Miller, they almost always point to two things: his blocking and consistency.
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“Zach’s our ace in the hole as a blocker in terms of protection, in terms of the run game,” Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said in 2011. “He can do some good things in the pass game … we usually end up sending the other guys out and leaving him in to block because he’s so good at it.”
The Seahawks like the potential of 2013 rookie tight end Luke Willson, and they recently re-signed fourth-year pro Anthony McCoy, but Miller provides stability. He has played at least 14 games in each of his seven seasons, and coach Pete Carroll has cautioned before not to judge Miller just on his numbers.
“You can just see he’s a clutch guy and we count on him, and there was a lot of stuff he did in the running game as well that helps us,” Carroll said after Miller returned from an injury against the Cardinals in October. “Without him we were so new with Luke doing all the little intricacies and stuff, so it was great to have him back. It really helps us out.”
Seattle brought in Green Bay free agent Jermichael Finley for a visit earlier this week. Restructuring Miller doesn’t rule out that the Seahawks would still pursue Finley since the Miller restructure has been in the works for a while.