A random thought on Zach Miller's contract

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  • There has been a lot of talk about Miller's enormous cap hit next season and how it might impact the Seahawks decisions this offseason. Miller has not provided great statistics, but anyone who follows the team closely can see the impact he brings. If let go, his absence would be felt, so it's not a cut and dry decision. Today I looked up Miller's contract details, and something kind of jumped out at me when I looked at it:

    Cap hit:

    2011: $3 million
    2012: $7 million
    2013: $9 million ($2 million guaranteed + 200k workout bonus)
    2014: $7.5 million ($2.5 million guaranteed + 200k workout bonus)
    2015: $7.5 million ($4.5 million guaranteed + 200k workout bonus)

    The thing about these numbers- it's really just 2013 that is tough to stomach on Miller's contract. His 2011 season was a bargain, and the 2012, 2014, and 2015 seasons are high but reasonably so.

    Normally backloaded contracts don't look like this- usually the most expensive years come at the very end and the player usually doesn't see that money- Trufant and Hill's contracts being examples of that. Why the spike in year 3? Actually, there's a pretty good reason why.

    The new CBA rules in 2011 (Miller signed this deal just days after the labor dispute ended) allowed for a cap rollover in 2011 and 2012. At the time, Seattle had a ton of money under the cap, and then rolled that money over into 2012- making them one of the best cap friendly teams in the league earlier this year. That money will roll over one more time after this season and into 2013's budget- which explains the urgency behind trading T-jack (owed $4 million) and releasing Kellen Winslow (going from memory I think he was owed $3 million this year).

    Anyway, when Seattle signed Miller in 2011, all signs pointed to them having a MOUNTAIN of money in 2013. I don't think they expected to splurge on Matt Flynn nor did they expect Red Bryant to become a $7 million per year player. Therefore, it's reasonable to look at this evidence and see a contract where Seattle actually planned on paying Miller that $9 million all along- because at the time they signed the deal they anticipated having more money than they knew what to do with in 2013. It's actually a very smart use of resources, IMO.

    Seattle still has the money to pay for Miller's giant 2013 salary, but they've not left themselves much room for anything else. That could get interesting as this has a chance to be the best offseason for free agent WRs in a good long while.

    Does Seattle just eat the 2013 cap hit and maybe miss out on some big name WRs? I'm starting to think that just maybe they are. Even if they released Miller right now, they'd still owe him $9 million in dead money over the next three years- that's still a majority of his guaranteed $17 million. So it's not just like it's all lolipops if we let Miller go. When you factor the price of paying for his replacement and couple it with the dead money, releasing him would hurt almost as much as keeping him would. That strikes me as being by design. What Miller's contract tells me is that this FO sees Miller as being here for the long haul, and that his huge 2013 cap number is probably based on a calculated financial decision made a couple years ahead of time to take advantage of what they thought would be a massive amount of cash to spend in 2013. It wouldn't be the first time this FO made a decision that was looking beyond year one.
    Last edited by kearly on Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:13 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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  • You made some good points. If you don't mind posting again, do you know what receivers will be on the market in '13?
    This does seem like a good move for Seattle with the way his contract is structured, but you're right in that it does penalize Seattle with money to play with in free agency. I think a wideout is sorely needed. Hopefully they address it in the first or second round of the draft.
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  • Mike Wallace is a likely UFA this offseason. As is Dwayne Bowe. Both have been characterized in the media as being unlikely to be franchised.

    Wes Welker could be a free agent too if New England doesn't franchise him.

    7 edits on the OP, btw. Phew, NFL contracts sure are fun!
    Last edited by kearly on Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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  • Thanks for the info. I think Mike Wallace would be a great fit in a lot of offenses, including Seattle's. He seems to have a good attitude and Pittsburgh isn't giving him any love on his contract right now so I'm assuming he'll leave. I personally wouldn't really want Dwayne Bowe, unless he conforms to Seattle's team first philosophy. I wouldn't mind Welker either. He was awesome even on a bad Miami team.
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  • I would be surprised if we signed any more free agents , I feel as if all the money we have has to go to the players on our team and just continuing to build threw the draft.
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  • Aside from the San Fran game, SidRice and GT have been producing pretty well. I'm not convinced the FO will want to spend a ton of money on a WR next season. Like East Coast pointed out, their philosophy doesn't really swing that way. They've always said they want to build through the draft. Coming into year 4 of the master plan, it seems to me that they will really be settling into cruise control, where their ability to mine talent from all levels of the draft sustains the team for the most part and FA moves are rare and tightly targeted. Our perceived need for help at WR is more fan-based than team based IMHO.

    As the o-line comes up to speed, Zach is becoming more of a force in the passing game, as he should. By the end of the year, I suspect that the panic following the SF game will have eased and cooler heads will prevail regarding our draft needs. Not that the FO panicked, but the fans around here certainly did.

    Team needs for a WR could likely be filled in the draft.
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  • As far as the likely/unlikely to franchise a guy... isn't the new rule that you can't franchise a guy two years in a row, or is that only if they agree to such a stipulation when they sign the franchise tender? I'm just wondering because I see a chance that teams will stop nonchalantly using the franchise tag as they have been if it can only be used on a guy once knowing full well that he'll be teed off and have the power to walk (and will do so) after getting franchised once.
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  • I haven't heard about that rule. However I do know that if you franchise a player twice you have to pay him at least 20% more the second time you do it. That's a pretty big deterrent since tag numbers are usually very high.
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  • I don't see them letting Miller go....unless there is a VERY good possibility of a replacement player. And if it's a FA, why not just keep Miller. No, he's not going anywhere.
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  • I just don't see how they can keep him. He's on pace for 36 catches and 2 TD. Even if paying his cap hit plus another cheap TE means they have a dropoff in production at the position, it can't cost them more than a few catches. That still leaves them with a handful of millions they can use elsewhere. If his second half mirrors his first half, I just can't see it. I'm also certain they figured on having him for the long haul, but I'm also certain they were counting on MUCH more production. No need to pay 9 million for 36 catches.
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  • I agree that our wide receiver corp is starting to look a helluva lot better. But even so, PC and JS will be salivating over a UFA Mike Wallace, don't be surprised if they sneak attack him at a Tarmac in the US this offseason.
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  • Tical21 wrote:I just don't see how they can keep him. He's on pace for 36 catches and 2 TD. Even if paying his cap hit plus another cheap TE means they have a dropoff in production at the position, it can't cost them more than a few catches. That still leaves them with a handful of millions they can use elsewhere. If his second half mirrors his first half, I just can't see it. I'm also certain they figured on having him for the long haul, but I'm also certain they were counting on MUCH more production. No need to pay 9 million for 36 catches.



    How hard is it to understand his production can be away from the ball, they are just beginning to open up the passing game and he is making catches and paying dividends. You blame him for not catching the ball but don't give him accolades for being so good at blocking and helping the run game that they keep him in for doing that. You could have Winslow there and a bloody mess on the field that used to be our QB.

    Stats don't fricken mean a damn thing many times, you guys all need to play the damn game again that refer just to stat pages and remember what really is going on in a game.
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  • If the Oline was more stable in his first few years here, he wouldn't of been needed to be just a blocker, will be more of a threat to run a short route or middle one in the future I think..
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  • SharkHawk wrote:As far as the likely/unlikely to franchise a guy... isn't the new rule that you can't franchise a guy two years in a row, or is that only if they agree to such a stipulation when they sign the franchise tender? I'm just wondering because I see a chance that teams will stop nonchalantly using the franchise tag as they have been if it can only be used on a guy once knowing full well that he'll be teed off and have the power to walk (and will do so) after getting franchised once.


    IIRC Drew Brees won his arbitration last offseason for being “franchised” two times in spite of it happening on two different teams. His third tag number in 2013 would have earned him a pay raise of 44 percent.

    Year two is a 120% bump, year three a 144% bump, at year four the player is a URFA, and the tag follows the player and not the team.
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  • He's just NOT replacable. He's too good a blocker, on the GW TD vs Pats, Zach Miller blocked Chandler Jones solo (I believe Jones was the DE). There's few TE's that can do that.
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  • pehawk wrote:He's just NOT replacable. He's too good a blocker, on the GW TD vs Pats, Zach Miller blocked Chandler Jones solo (I believe Jones was the DE). There's few TE's that can do that.


    This...

    I posted in another thread just how much Miller plays for us along with McCoy’s play count and it shows just how important Zach’s play is to this offense.

    For more check out Danny Kelly’s Nov 5 analysis’ of Week 9 Snap Counts…
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  • Given our emphasis on the run, Miller will never be a 90 catch TE on this team anyway. Too many other targets and too few passing plays to divvy up.

    Our FO thinks talent/value first, then money. Miller's pretty safe IMHO, assuming his production in all facets of the game stay up there.
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  • chris98251 wrote:
    Tical21 wrote:I just don't see how they can keep him. He's on pace for 36 catches and 2 TD. Even if paying his cap hit plus another cheap TE means they have a dropoff in production at the position, it can't cost them more than a few catches. That still leaves them with a handful of millions they can use elsewhere. If his second half mirrors his first half, I just can't see it. I'm also certain they figured on having him for the long haul, but I'm also certain they were counting on MUCH more production. No need to pay 9 million for 36 catches.



    How hard is it to understand his production can be away from the ball, they are just beginning to open up the passing game and he is making catches and paying dividends. You blame him for not catching the ball but don't give him accolades for being so good at blocking and helping the run game that they keep him in for doing that. You could have Winslow there and a bloody mess on the field that used to be our QB.

    Stats don't fricken mean a damn thing many times, you guys all need to play the damn game again that refer just to stat pages and remember what really is going on in a game.

    Never said he wasn't appreciated as a blocker. But you can get an elite blocking TE for 700k. There are 704 better ways to use 9 million than a blocking TE.
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  • What's the chance he's willing to restructure for some cap relief?
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    I don't think he's going anywhere by the way. Too good at all aspects of the postion.
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  • theENGLISHseahawk wrote:This website has Miller's cap hit at $11m in 2013: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/seattle-seah ... ch-miller/


    kearly's cap number for Miller in 2013, 2014 and 2015 are correct.
    2013 cap .... $9 million
    2014 cap .... $7.5 million
    2015 cap .... $7.5 million

    Spotrac's numbers are wrong for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

    Spotrac failed to spread out scheduled roster bonuses over the remaining years of the contract. For example ..... they charged all of Miller's scheduled $3 million 2013 roster bonus against the 2013 cap number. What they should have done is broken it out over the ballance of the remaining contract by applying $1 million against the 2013 cap and $1 million against the 2014 cap and the remaining $1 million against the 2015 cap ...... the last year of the existing contract.

    Misinformation spreads like a wildfire on the internet. Just because an internet site publishes, doesn't make everything they publish is gospel. They make mistakes just like the rest of us.

    Know that the correct figures for Miller's cap numbers are :
    2013 cap .... $9 million
    2014 cap .... $7.5 million
    2015 cap .... $7.5 million
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