Zach Miller agrees new deal with Seahawks

March 15th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

In some ways this was inevitable, but Miller didn’t have to take a pay reduction.

The Seahawks paid him handsomely in 2011 at a time when they were a much less attractive free agent destination.

His cap hit of $11m led the team last season — and the scheduled $7m in 2014 was simply too high.

The market for veteran tight ends is working around the $2-3m mark. Cutting him would’ve saved $5m against the cap.

Essentially he’s agreed to take a pay cut.

This was a test of how badly he wanted to remain a Seahawk. It’s his best fit schematically. I’m not sure there would’ve been a rabid market for his services.

And yet the Seahawks also knew they’d find it very difficult to replace him — so he also had some leverage.

Losing Breno Giacomini hasn’t received anywhere near as much attention as Golden Tate’s departure.

There’s a good reason why New York is paying him $4.5m a year. He’s a fine right tackle. Name me a better one in the NFL off the top of your head.

The Seahawks weren’t in a position to pay him that kind of money. It doesn’t mean they didn’t want to keep him.

Now they’re faced with either starting Michael Bowie or Alvin Bailey at tackle, or drafting a rookie replacement.

It’s not a disastrous situation, but you’re going to have a degree of uncertainty there — even with Bowie (he started a few games in Giacomini’s absence last year).

Miller’s blocking off the edge — and he’s as good a blocking tight end as you’ll find in the league — is crucial.

They couldn’t lose that aspect of his game. Not while they’re breaking in an inexperienced right tackle in 2014.

And yet they also couldn’t justify paying $7m for that service.

Miller could easily have demanded his release. But he also knew he wouldn’t be walking into a great situation as a free agent.

In the end this suits everyone except Miller’s wallet — and the Seahawks won’t have to adjust their scheme too much to compensate for having to replace Miller with a player like Anthony McCoy.

So what does this mean for Jermichael Finley?

I still believe there’s a fair chance he winds up in Seattle.

The Seahawks needed to act with Miller because he was due a roster bonus of $1m on March 21st.

They had to make a decision either way — cut him or restructure.

The interest in Finley could’ve been used as a bargaining tool. It’s pretty cold hearted (to Miller and Finley), yet a common occurrence at this time of year.

I suspect the Seahawks weren’t playing games, it’s more a case of timing.

Finley is still waiting for official clearance on his neck injury. Seattle, Green Bay or anyone else can’t do anything until they get the green light there.

There’s a chance they might have to wait another week or two — and by that time they would’ve needed to make a decision on Miller anyway.

So while it looks today like maybe some bargaining games were being played — I think it’s just a coincidence.

What might be more likely is something we discussed earlier in the week.

Do the Seahawks see Finley as more of an over-sized slot receiver?

He’s not a blocker. He was never going to be a like-for-like replacement for Miller.

He’s a guy who moves well at the second level, makes plays down the seam and creates a mismatch against linebackers.

New Orleans don’t ask Jimmy Graham to block, they ask him to run routes.

Finley could line up in the slot and provide a much needed big target for Russell Wilson. And let’s not forget here — the Seahawks are down two receivers (Sidney Rice and Golden Tate).

Theoretically they could re-sign Rice, add Finley and they’d have the same number of wide outs as last year.

And I still wouldn’t rule out another being added in the draft — given Doug Baldwin is a free agent next year and neither Rice or Percy Harvin has a glowing injury record.

Plus it’s a great class. You’d be daft not to tap into the group.

We’ll have to wait and see on this one, but I don’t think today’s news necessarily has an impact on whether Finley joins the Seahawks or not.

Meanwhile Josina Anderson is also reporting Henry Melton is still in Seattle. He’s still scheduled to meet with Dallas, although as you can see below — he won’t be heading there today.

The longer he stays in Seattle, clearly it’s more likely a deal gets done.

The Seahawks have enough cap room to make at least one reasonable splash on the defensive line.

Melton could be the guy.

95 Responses to “Zach Miller agrees new deal with Seahawks”

  1. Austin says:

    I want Melton bad but I think Dallas will throw too much money at him in a desperation move. Melton on this line is scary….it would be the best unit in the NFL.

    • Colin says:

      Certainly possible, but Dallas doesn’t have much wiggle room.

      And more importantly, they don’t have the awesome factor of the Hawks :).

      • Matt says:

        Melton on this line is scary….it would be the best unit in the NFL.
        Again!

        The situation here would be perfect for Melton, as he wouldn’t be asked to do too much. Coming of an ACL tear being able to blend into the best DLine in the game would do wonders for his stock in the future. In Dallas he would be relied upon heavily, which may not be as attractive. Don’t even let him get on the plane to Dallas!

  2. Marcus says:

    Rob,

    What is the impact to a team’s compensatory picks when they release a player but then later resign them, as the Seahawks are wont to do?

    • Jon says:

      no impact. any released player is not eligible for impact on comp picks.

      the signing of peppers, bryant, clem, ware, et al. are meaningless for the nature of comp picks.

      • hawkmeat says:

        True. Compensatory picks can be a strange beast. Would be fun to be one of the managers to give a value and decide on those picks.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think it has any impact.

  3. Colin says:

    Awesome news regarding Miller. Keeping the band together as best as possible!

  4. Stuart says:

    Miller>Finley for Hawks system

    • dirk says:

      Agreed, RE: Miller>Finley.

      However, don’t rule out the option of carrying 4 TE’s this year (Miller, Willson, Finley, McCoy) instead of 2 FB’s. Finley can operate as a pseudo 5/6 WR, too, as others have discussed.

      • rrsquid says:

        Two thoughts:
        The Seahawks are not shy to cut players. If they sign Finley, it’s always possible they cut Miller or Finley before the season.

        Pete could be planning to make some changes to the offense. It makes sense to me to stay ahead of the other teams. Leave them trying to catch up and when they are close, change it up again.

    • Belgaron says:

      yes and no, depends on the play.

    • Colin says:

      As much as the Hawks are a run first team, they are going to slowly shift towards the throwing the ball a bit more. If Finley signed here, I’d expect the team to be closer to 50-50 pass/run ratio as opposed to the 53/47 run/pass ratio they’ve been at the last couple of seasons.

      • Cade says:

        If that was the case, why would they pay Harvin to be their no.1 WR and then use him in the running game as much as passing game?

        Why wouldn’t they sign Tate to keep invested in pass catchers.. ?

        No, I think if they sign Finely it would be to supplement production in pass catchers while introducing more versatility as they can put more TE on the field without tipping hand if its a pass or run.

        Replacing a WR with a TE isn’t a shift towards pass offense.

      • Beanhawk says:

        Although… you have Finley essentially playing a wide receiver role, that may not be the case. For instance, Finley isn’t a blocker in terms of a TE, but might he be a better blocker than Harvin, Baldwin, or Kearse on the outside? I would think that he would certainly offer more potential.

        Imagine Harvin running a fly sweep with Jermichael Finley blocking a cornerback on that side. Or think back to the Super Bowl fly sweep when Miller wasn’t fast enough to get to the second and third level, and imagine if that were Finley instead. Finley doesn’t provide much inline blocking help likely, but he could extremely effective on the edge.

        There are definitely intriguing possibilities.

  5. Dan says:

    These are both fantastic news! I didn’t want the FO to cut Miller but I figured they would based off of his cap hit. Hopefully the new contract is a little more team friendly. As for Melton… holy **** he would be incredible on this line.

  6. Steve Nelsen says:

    Great news on Miller. No pressure now to draft a TE. Finley becomes a possible alternative to Willson but not an urgent add.

    By my rough numbers we have enough cap space to extend Thomas, extend Sherman, re-sign our kicker, pay our draft picks and maybe keep one more moderately priced veteran free agent like WTIII.

    • Sea-Town says:

      I like the sound of that plan!

    • Cade says:

      Bleh.

      The super bowl really turned me off on Thurmond. Lane would have done better in the slot. Also if we are going to run blitz from the slot, for fuckssake please use Lane. Watching Thurmond smoothly glide around with his amazing athleticism yet miss assignments, miss tackle, get burned on routes and hold.. it was quite revealing.

      I know its a one game sample but during the season I think Thurmond made the most mistakes.

      • Colin says:

        Couldn’t disagree more. I thought Thurmond was pretty good on the slot this season. Made a number of big plays and missed a pick 6 in the Super Bowl because the ball was tipped.

    • Hay stacker509 says:

      Thomas and Sherman for sure and try to get Hauschka to take a team friendly deal and roll the remainder over to next year to extend Wilson and baldwin

  7. Belgaron says:

    We are now heading into the fun part of free agency. Where teams can no longer just significantly outbid the ‘Hawks. With money being equal, nobody can out-class or out-market this team. And there still may be some newly released players that are interesting.

    • Steve Nelsen says:

      Spot on. Seattle has a lot of positive things going for it: no state income tax, stable FO, championship contender, great locker room. We may trail on endorsement potential from other markets but over all I think we will come out ahead more often than not if the money is close.

      But, do we prioritize adding players from outside the organization or keeping our own? Thurmond is one example but we could also look at extensions for Baldwin and some of the other young defenders.

  8. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    If Finely passes his medical and signs with SEA, I think Rob is correct that he’ll be utilized mostly as a WR despite being listed as a TE, a la Graham in NO and Davis in SF.

    Obviously Melton will sign with whichever team offers the best deal. But what if the contracts offered by SEA and DAL are roughly equal? Does he go for a ring and sign with the defending SB champs, or does he go for his hometown Cowboys? Back before Bennett resigned and there were rumors Chicago was courting him, I opined on this blog that if Melton was back to his 2011-2012 form, I’d be ok replacing Bennett with him. The thought of having both Bennett and a healthy Melton on the same line is almost too much to contemplate.

    • zh93 says:

      I don’t know if you’ve seen many 49er games, but davis is one hell of a blocker for being a “recieving” tight end. No reason to pool him with the jimmy grahams of the world.

  9. Ray bones says:

    Important signing from a team unity perspective. Keep as many of the guys that got you to the top as possible and still maintain fiscal responsibility. I’m convinced now that the Leo depth will come from the draft. There are several “seahawky” types out there the don’t fit the square peg mold of the NFL. I’m thinking o line in the first then BAA after that.

  10. Belgaron says:

    Darren Connolly IV has sources claiming Seahawks are willing to offer late pick for Terrelle Pryor. Raider fans response is “please take him”.

  11. diFuria says:

    After dead money bla bla prorated bonus bla bla, this restructuring only saves maybe $1-2M vs the cap. Spotrac just posted that we have ove $20M available. How did that happen – here is David Hsu when you need him?

    You think that Dallas would offer Melton just a fair market deal, given the state of their line? Absent that, I would think SEA is in the cat bird seat for him. Melton, Bennert, Mebane and Avril would be a Pro Bowl line up (kinda like our defensive backfield). That possibility is giving me a tingly feeling in my undercarriage.

    • DoubleJ says:

      If I’m reading it right, they seem to have removed Zach Miller completely from the cap number while they await the details of the new contract (you can see the transaction on the right hand side, but when you click on it, there are no numbers in it) — that’s why it’s up to 20, should be more like 16 or 17 once they input the new numbers

      I think this frees up more like 3 a year since the remainder of the prorated bonus is included in that $3M per year figure – but definitely correct me if I misunderstood that

  12. EranUngar says:

    Great news.

    Have you all notices that so far we haven’t kicked a tire or expressed any interest in any of the OL players available on FA? we are rumored to look at receivers, TEs and DLinemen only. We heard about offers to Tate but nothing about Breno.

    It could be that the plan is to fraft OL high but i don’t see this team putting all their fate in an unknown draft prospect that they get at the 32nd pick or later. That’s not how this team plans it’s progress.

    The above tells me one thing – They are happy with the guys they have. They feel that Bowie and Bailey can step in and perform. That for me is really great news. I’m sure there will be late rounders to compete but i think they feel that we already have the guys we need.

    If i’m right about it and they do, that leaves the draft wide open to improve with offensive weapons ib the top 2 pics or a DE if one really impresses them. Either way it all mean that the 2014 hawks could and should be at least as scary as the 2013 hawks. I love that thought.

    Let’s see who they collect now from the bargain basement of FA and get ready for an exciting draft.

    • Beanhawk says:

      Yeah, I think it is probably a mix of feeling relatively comfortable with Bowie and Bailey (and Lem) and also having guys targeted in the draft for the OL. Given the tweet (Tony Pauline?) that Seahawks maybe looking toward the OL in the draft, I would guess that they will go OL at #32 unless someone really intriguing (ODB, Lee, Donald, etc.) miraculously falls to them.

      • Beanhawk says:

        Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them bring in a few “camp-contract” guys once free agency dies down as well. But with where Seattle is at, they just can’t (and shouldn’t) be paying 4.5mil+ per year long-term contracts to guards and right tackles.

    • Rock says:

      I understand the coaches are also high on Caylin Hauptmann. Still, I would look for at least one more OL in the draft.

      If we sign Finley we will be overloaded at TE. We should look for a trade there for a draft pick. The TE market is a little thin in the draft. Our guys are as good as any coming out. Miller, McCoy, Willson, Cooper Helfet, Travis Beckham and possibly Finley is a few too many.

      Finally, it appears we are going to be entitled to a bunch of 2015 compensation picks. These are more redshirt guys only this year we get to redshirt them in college rather than on IR.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s a mix of liking the guys we have and being ready to force the issue in the draft.

      They likely think there will be good OL options at #32 and #64.

      And if teams are underrating a player like Joel Bitonio — they’ll be right.

      • Belgaron says:

        Do you think Easley will make it to 64?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Yes, but I wouldn’t be confident taking him there. Two serious knee injuries. They need to hit on 32 and 64. I’m not going after injury projects.

          • CC says:

            There should be a decent tall WR at 64 – that and an OT at 32 would make me happy. If Finley signs, I think this is also an opportunity for … competition. We were using OL as blockers in the playoffs so I think they’ll continue that practice this year.

  13. Stuart says:

    How great would that be to sign Henry Melton? I could get hard and wet at the same time, LOL…

    Hawks are favored, of course, to win Super Bowl XVIIII at 5-1.

    SF is at 8-1 and NO is 20-1.

    Who do think is a dark horse for next season?

    • Rock says:

      They are not a dark horse but I would bet on New England beating Denver. With Revis and Browner they could be tough in the secondary. The Hawks showed them how to get it done against Manning.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Eagles could surprise some.. Atlanta could turn it around. Cards might make the playoffs. Rams might make the playoffs. Lions could do some real damage with a good draft. A rookie might take the Texans to the playoffs.

    • Belgaron says:

      Colts

    • bigDhawk says:

      SB XLIX (roman numerals are obnoxious, I know):

      SEA 34 – NE 17

  14. Belgaron says:

    I’m wondering how long before we have a Melton announcement.

  15. kevin mullen says:

    Finley would have been the sexy signing, but with TC’s run scheme in regards to TE’s, gotta have some blocking skills (and there’s nothing sexy with our OL/TE or Cable). I think this is a win-win for both Miller and our FO, not sure he would have received $3mil on the open market. Good move by both parties.

  16. Cysco says:

    im not convinced that Finley was used as leverage against miller or that miller’s new contract means the Hawks are out on Finley. Finley seems to be a possible answer for a large receiver, not a replacement for a blocking TE. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they still sign Finley.

    • bigDhawk says:

      Like Beanhawk said so well further up, Finley’s blocking contributions would probably come on the edge against DBs on Harvin sweeps and the like, where his larger frame could be a force, not on the LOS.

    • Matt says:

      Not sure either, but Miller, Finley and Willson would be the best TE unit Seattle has ever had! We could use a ton of different looks with these 3 players in the fold.

      I would think Melton is the priority over Finley, so we may not see any news on JF until Melton signs with us or another team.

      If we can somehow sign those 2 FA’s and retain Haushka and Thurmond we would be sitting pretty going into the draft!

  17. David Ess says:

    sooo is he back?

    Won’t you come back, come back, come back… @sidneyrice— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) March 15, 2014

  18. Richard says:

    Signing Melton to a one year “prove it” deal would be perfect. That would give them a chance to see what Williams can do. I don’t really like what I see from him on tape , but I’m a nobody when it comes to evaluating NFL players. One thing I do know is a big body is needed after losing Red. Hill should see more snaps but he’s more of the Clinton McDonald body type. And I want Finley. They really need taller ball catchers for Wilson . He’s short , can’t hide from the truth.

  19. Stuart says:

    If Cincy could upgrade from Dalton, they could be the AFC rep next season.

    All indications are that Cincy wants to re-up with Dalton…

  20. Colin says:

    Source: DT Henry Melton's agents are in serious contract negotiations with the Seattle #Seahawks #NFLFreeAgency— Erskine Hinds (@ErskineTheGreat) March 15, 2014

    :D Oh John, get us this one. Bring it home for us buddy.

    • Rob Staton says:

      How reliable is Erskine Hinds? It’s not a name I’ve come across before.

      • Colin says:

        Not sure, but Danny Kelly just posted on FG:

        @FieldGulls a friend of mine who works for Alaska said Pete called him asking him to stick around while he was in line boarding the plane.— Joe Gusa (@jgusa14) March 15, 2014

        • Colin says:

          Just found this on a forum too:

          “I’m from Chicago and am best friends with Henry Melton’s girlfriend. She said bears are only offering a year and she said it looks like they’re moving to Seattle. Congrats on the signing. I have no proof but you’ll find out soon enough”

              • Rob Staton says:

                Hmmm… not sure I believe that forum thread.

                As for Erskine Hinds… he follows 11,000 people on Twitter and appears to have generated most of his following on a ‘follow back’ routine (he has 12,000 followers). He lists himself as a University alumni from 2013.

                With the greatest respect, he looks like a guy trying to make a name for himself on Twitter by reporting erroneous information. I highly doubt student grads are capable of making contacts within the NFL strong enough to break news like this less than a year into their careers.

                • Beanhawk says:

                  There is also this for what it is worth. Again, no reliable sources yet, but steam picking up it seems.

                  “Henry Melton was at the airport in Seattle ready to leave w/o a deal before Pete Carroll called him and asked him to hang around… #GONE” – Inside The Film (@insidethefilm); 4:26 PM – 15 Mar 2014

              • Cameron says:

                Oh, that confirms it. We’re signing Melton… /sarcasm

                • Colin says:

                  None of what I posted was supposed to suggest that he IS a Seahawk, but rather that a deal is close.

            • Colin says:

              Several sources now reporting a deal is very close with Melton.

          • Steve Nelsen says:

            I love this place. Where else can I get the latest from the best friend of a player’s girlfriend and someone who overhears a conversation at the airport? I am not being sarcastic. I love it that there is a whole community of guys as passionate about this stuff as I am.

  21. Cameron says:

    I think we’ll sign Henry, but I bet it’ll be a multi-year deal for decent money. I am guess 3/20 with 8.5 mil gtd.

    • Arias says:

      maybe 3/20 but with only two of those years having any guarantees. I think the key piece is he wants more than one.

  22. Beanhawk says:

    Very nice article, Rob, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Quick question. Are you sure Finley’s “Wow!” was in reference to Miller’s restructuring. He posted it right after Peppers’ big signing in Green Bay and probably an hour and half before Miller’s was announced publicly. I guess I assumed it was about Peppers signing with his old team, did you hear/see differently?

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter though, and the idea of Jermichael Finley in the slot and on the outside is REALLY growing on me!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Bean — thanks for the heads up on this.

      On my timeline the Finley tweet was re-tweeted by someone I follow right after the Miller news broke. I put 2+2 together and should’ve checked the timing. I’ve adjusted the article.

  23. Stuart says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, HENRY MELTON!!!

  24. Ehurd1021 says:

    Melton is only 27 his injury happened week 3 so he is about 16 weeks ahead of Clem. Give that man a 3 year deal and call it a day.

    If he does sign does this make the line better than last year, thats really tough to imagine because the that line was so nasty last year.

  25. RadMan says:

    Nah… Won’t miss Breno much. Like the saying goes, it’s not the price of greatness that kills ya, the real cost in free agency is in mediocrity. Smart move and easily replaced by what we have.

    • Arias says:

      if the line hadn’t been so horrible last year I would agree with you. But it was for at least half the season and until the starters show that they can stay healthy for the entire season then it is cause for to be worried until the rookies to show that they can step up.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I disagree with easily replaced.

      He can and will be replaced, but there’s going to be growing pains.

  26. CC says:

    It is tough to lose our guys, so it would be nice to get someone like Melton signed! If WT3 isn’t coming back here – I hope it isn’t SF mostly because he knows our defense so well. I also think adding Finley could make for some interesting alignments and pose another difficult receiver for teams to cover. And what about HaushMoney?? Can we get him signed back up please?

  27. Davison Phipps says:

    Right tackles better than Giacomini, off the top of my head?

    Anthony Davis, Phil Loadholt, Andre Smith, Doug Free, DJ Fluker, Eric Winston, Orlando Franklin, Michael Oher. Breno’s just fine, but what the difference between an average RT and Bowie? It’s not really that much; almost all of the best tackles play on the left. With limited cap space, I’m glad we didn’t invest a chunk of it at one of the least important positions on the field.

    • CC says:

      If the price had been right, I would have been okay with keeping Breno – but not at the cost of not getting a long term deal for Earl and Sherm.

    • Cameron says:

      Michael Oher is kind of terrible, actually, especially as a run blocker. Eric Winston? Nah.

    • Arias says:

      you really think Michael Oher is better than Giacomini? I don’t.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I’ll give you Davis and Doug Free, but the rest of them are either at or beneath Giac’s level, for me.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d put Giacomini ahead of all those players. Oher is shockingly poor.

      Have a look at the elite pass rushers he had to deal with (when healthy) the last two years. Also throw in his run blocking and attitude. He’s exactly what you look for in a RT.

      The guy is seriously underrated. And yet I totally understand why Seattle just couldn’t afford to pay him $4.5m a year.

  28. Vin says:

    I now have a healthy respect for Miller. It appears that he’s happy being a Hawk, likes where we’re going and is willing to take a pay cut because of it. This is a testament to the team and culture that PC & Schneider have created as well as the fondness that Miller has towards the team. Im so stoked. If his pay cut leads to the long term signing of ET & RS, as well as the signings of Melton, & Finley…..man, thats just straight up awesomeness. I wish the draft is next week….this waiting is killing me. Go Hawks!!!!

  29. Chris F says:

    This was just tweeted a few minutes ago:

    Meanwhile, #Seahawks and DT Henry Melton are deep in negotiations tonight, per source. We’ll see if he makes it to Dallas for his visit— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2014

  30. Kenny Sloth says:

    Brett Smith runs a 4.51 at his pro day. One of the most accurate college quarterbacks I’ve seen. He reminds me of a mobile Phillip Rivers. Leads receivers really well.

    Speaking of combine snubs.
    What did you think of Calvin Barnett, Rob? His pro day was god awful, but the tape don’t lie.

    • red says:

      Calvin Barnet had his knee scoped

      Out at Oklahoma State, defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, the top non-combine prospect from the school, had his knee scoped and will not workout. I’m told Barnett will work out sometime in April.

      Tony Pauline

    • Rob Staton says:

      Still not had a chance to check out the tape unfortunately.

  31. Rob Staton says:

    Walter Thurmond has signed a one year deal with the New York Giants, according to Adam Schefter.