— Danny 710ESPNSeattle (@BrocknDanny) March 15, 2014
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.
No Cowboys visit scheduled today for DT Henry Melton.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 15, 2014
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.