Seahawks bolster tight end by adding Zach Miller
Seattle agrees with Raider on reported five-year, $34 million deal with at least $18 million guaranteed.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — Zach Miller is a tight end known for his hands after catching at least 60 passes in two successive seasons.
That's not the only reason the Seahawks think he's a catch, though, after signing him away from Oakland. Seattle sees an elite receiver who's also a blocker unafraid to get his hands dirty in the trenches.
"He makes us a more versatile offense," coach Pete Carroll said.
He better because Seattle backed up the Brinks truck to sign him. He will sign a five-year deal worth a total of $34 million, according to reports. He's assured of receiving at least $18 million.
The signing was considered a coup for Seattle, one credited in part to new offensive-line coach Tom Cable, who was in Oakland for Miller's four seasons.
Seattle has been among the most aggressive teams in free agency, Miller being the fourth starter the team signed in five days.
The difference is that this was not a move made out of necessity. Seattle needed a quarterback after choosing not to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck, which is why Tarvaris Jackson is here. Robert Gallery is the veteran left guard that Seattle clearly planned to add while Sidney Rice is the hot rod of a receiver the Seahawks have been chasing since last year when they were sniffing around Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson.
Miller's addition is different. Tight end isn't a position that was considered a weakness. In fact, some saw it as a strength. Seattle has John Carlson as the incumbent starter, and while his production slid last season, all he did in his first two seasons as a Seahawk was finish with the two highest season reception totals of any tight end in team history.
The Seahawks also have Cameron Morrah, who showed promise last season, and Anthony McCoy, who Carroll thought had the potential to be the most well-rounded tight end on the team.
But Miller's production is a notch above. A second-round pick out of Arizona State in 2007, he has never caught fewer than 40 passes in any of his four NFL seasons. He has more than 60 receptions in each of the past two, and at 25, he's younger than Carlson, 27.
Carlson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but before anyone goes projecting a trade out of town, Carroll was asked if there's room for both Carlson and Miller on the roster.
"Absolutely," Carroll said. "It's exactly what's in our mind. Anybody thinks otherwise doesn't get it. We think those guys will play together in tandem."
Seattle frequently used two tight-end sets last season. The difference was the Seahawks were pairing a blocking specialist in Chris Baker with Carlson. The fact Seattle played for a month without a fullback also complicated matters as Carlson took on more pass-protection assignments.
How will Carlson and Miller look together?
"They'll be on opposite sides," Carroll said. "We'll be moving them around for matchups and all kinds of stuff. I think it's a great asset for us now."
Carlson met Miller in previous seasons, and he saw Miller when he was visiting Seattle as a free agent on Monday.
"I think he'll make the team better," Carlson said. "And I look forward to seeing what we can do with the two tight-end packages, and see what we can do offensively."
That won't just be in the passing game, either. Tight ends are the offensive hybrids, part blocker and part receiver, and as teammates in Oakland, new guard Robert Gallery said Miller excels at both.
"He's definitely not just a pass-catching tight end," Gallery said. "He'll stick his nose in there and he does a great job blocking. He's definitely two-dimensional in that aspect."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Having a hard time keeping up with the Seahawks roster moves? Here's a look at who started the most games at each position in 2010, and a projected starting lineup for Week 1.|
|2010 starter||2011 starter|
|Ben Obomanu||Wide receiver||Sidney Rice|
|Russell Okung||Left tackle||Russell Okung|
|Ben Hamilton||Left guard||Robert Gallery|
|Chris Spencer||Center||Max Unger|
|Stacy Andrews||Right guard||John Moffitt|
|Sean Locklear||Right tackle||James Carpenter|
|John Carlson||Tight end||Zach Miller|
|Mike Williams||Wide receiver||Mike Williams|
|Matt Hasselbeck||Quarterback||Tarvaris Jackson|
|Chris Baker||Tight end/full back||Michael Robinson|
|Justin Forsett||Running back||Marshawn Lynch|
|Chris Clemons||Left defensive end||Chris Clemons|
|Brandon Mebane||Left defensive tackle||Brandon Mebane|
|Colin Cole||Right defensive tackle||Alan Branch|
|Kentwan Balmer||Right defensive end||Red Bryant|
|David Hawthorne||Outside linebacker||Leroy Hill|
|Lofa Tatupu||Middle linebacker||David Hawthorne|
|Aaron Curry||Outside linebacker||Aaron Curry|
|Marcus Trufant||Left cornerback||Marcus Trufant|
|Kelly Jennings||Right cornerback||Walter Thurmond|
|Lawyer Milloy||Strong safety||Kam Chancellor|
|Earl Thomas||Free safety||Earl Thomas|
|Gray: No longer on the team|