Tag:Zach Miller
Posted on: September 11, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 10:38 am

Cowboys extend Witten through 2017

Tony Romo keeps one of his favorite targets in Dallas through 2017. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Cowboys signed tight end Jason Witten early Sunday morning to a five-year, $37 million contract extension that includes $19 million in guarantees, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman. Now one of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends, and quarterback Tony Romo's go-to guy, is signed through 2017.

Witten hauled in 94 passes for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns last season, even though Romo was lost for the final 10 games. Just how good were those numbers? According to Football Outsiders, Witten ranked third in total value among all NFL tight ends behind only Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski, two players who caught passes from Philip Rivers and Tom Brady all season long.

Last month, the Seahawks signed tight end Zach Miller to a five-year contract worth $34 million, including $17 million in guarantees. By comparison, Miller had 60 catches for 685 yards and five touchdowns a last season with the Raiders. He also ranked 19th in total value, according to Football Outsiders. Of course, Miller played in Oakland, where he was often the only reliable downfield passing option, and he played on a team built around the run.

As for Dallas, there's no reason to think Witten, 29, won't continue to play at a high level. He's had at least 80 catches and 950 yards receiving in each of the last four seasons, and 2011 shouldn't be any different. We'll find out on Sunday night when the Cowboys begin their season against the Jets.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 1:42 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 3:59 pm

Raiders take Terrelle Pryor in third round

T. Pryor was taken by Oakland in the third round of the supplemental draft (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that was ridiculously predictable and (probably) predictably ridiculous, the Raiders have taken Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the NFL’s supplemental draft. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it was with the No. 18 pick.

According to NFL.com's Albert Breer, Pryor immediately got on the phone with Raiders coach Hue Jackson and said, "I'll be there, and I'll be ready ... I can't wait." Breer also quoted agent Drew Rosenhaus saying, "I'm optimistic we'll get a deal done tonight."

The move isn’t a surprise, especially since we know the Raiders’ obsession with speedy draft picks and with the news that Pryor ran between a 4.38 and a 4.41 40 during his Pro Day last weekend. While the rest of his Pro Day was uneven for a quarterback -- his accuracy wasn’t that great -- his speed really stood out, especially considering he’s 6 foot 5 and 230 pounds.

Pryor's Journey to Oakland
Assuming Pryor, who will miss the first five games of the season because of a suspension, remains a quarterback, he would be entering a position that’s actually pretty deep in Oakland with Jason Campbell as the starter and Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller as the backups.

Which might mean the Raiders could try to turn Pryor into a tight end. And considering Oakland lost standout tight end Zach Miller to the Seahawks and replaced him with a lesser talent in Kevin Boss, a move like that would make a little bit of sense.

Still, the third round seems a bit high, right? As one of my editors pointed out, the Vikings got Donovan McNabb for a sixth-round pick this year, and the Raiders were willing to wager a third-rounder on Pryor? Are there many in the league at this point who would feel more comfortable playing Pryor at the quarterback spot instead of McNabb? I can't image so.

It’s interesting that the Raiders would take him so high, but in their mind, they might have felt like they had no other choice. They didn’t have a fourth-round pick because they’d already traded that selection to the Redskins to bring in Campbell. If they waited until the fifth round to select Pryor, there was a real chance he’d already be gone.

As of now, the Raiders have mortgaged half of next year’s draft, because they’d already traded their second-round pick to the Patriots -- meaning they don’t have a second, third or fourth-round draft pick for 2012. That’s not to say Oakland won’t be involved in trades that gets the club a draft pick in those rounds, but for now, the Raiders really have to hope the Campbell and Pryor picks were the right moves to make.

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 3:16 pm

Raiders sign Boss to replace Miller

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Seahawks signed Zach Miller away from the Raiders with a five-year, $34 million deal with $17 million in guarantees. To replace their leading receiver from 2010 (and one of the few pass-catching threats not named Darren McFaddenwho is currently on the shelf) Oakland inked former Giants tight end Kevin Boss. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the contract is for four years and worth $16 million, about half what Seattle paid for Miller.

Which immediately raises the question: was Miller worth it? Put differently: should the Raiders, who need all the downfield passing help they can get, have made more of an effort to keep Miller in Oakland?

Looking at the raw numbers, Miller had 60 catches for 685 yards and 5 TDs last season. Boss had 35 receptions for 531 yards and also had 5 TDs. According to Football Outsiders' advanced stats, Miller ranked 19th among all NFL tight ends in total value, and 22nd in value per play; Boss was 32nd in both measures.

To add some context, Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar (who's also a Seahawks fan and watches a ton of film) tweets that "Boss and Miller (are) not the same player. Boss: speed for shorter routes, good blocker. Miller: size and speed to stretch seam. Different level."

Boss' blocking acumen will come in handy given that the Raiders like to run the ball, but he won't magically make up for the lost downfield production now that Miller is in Seattle.

But, hey, maybe this is the year Darrius Heyward-Bey finally puts it together.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 10:32 pm

RB McFadden suffers orbital injury, out 2 weeks

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Raiders running back Darren McFadden suffered a "little fracture" of an orbital bone during practice Wednesday and will be sidelined for two weeks, according to CBSSport.com's Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore.

McFadden apparently suffered the injury after taking a helmet to the cheek on what the San Francisco Chronicle referred to as "a great block of Quentin Groves."

Head coach Hue Jackson called the injury "interesting because last year he was out a couple weeks and it was a hamstring" before adding that "he'll be fine."

We're not sure if Jackson is intrigued by the coincidence or because McFadden's injuries seem to come in two-week increments. Either way, he's an integral part of an offense that will now be without tight end Zach Miller, who signed with the Seahawks earlier this week. Luckily, McFadden should be back in plenty of time for the regular season.

A year ago, the 2008 first-round pick accounted for 29 percent of all the Raiders' offensive yards (he rushed for 1,157 and had another 507 yards receiving).And according to Football Outsiders, McFadden ranked 14th in total value among all NFL running backs, ahead of LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Joseph Addai and Matt Forte.

The Raiders have added offensive linemen Stephon Heyer, Seth Wand, and Justin Smiley in free agency (they also re-signed center Samson Satele), but the loss of Miller to the Seahawks -- and to a lesser degree, Robert Gallery -- not to mention the huge deal Oakland gave Kamerion Wimbley, lands them firmly in our Eye on Football Free Agency Losers pile.

That said, whatever the state of the offensive line, the Raiders' offensive philosophy will likely start with the running game and McFadden. For now, though, Oakland is thin at the position; rookie Taiwan Jones and Michael Bennett are nursing injuries, and Michael Bush, who rushed for 655 yards in 2010, remains unsigned. The Chronicle's Vittorio Tafur details Bush's absence.

"My understanding with Bush is that the restricted free agent has not signed his first- and third-round tender and doesn't technically have to be back until Aug. 19. The Raiders would send him a letter on the 15th if he is not here and tell him that he has until the 19th to report or else face going on the 'exempt list.' That would result in a three-game suspension."

Jackson, when asked about Bush, said "Well, Michael's going to be here at some point, I truly believe that. Obviously we'd love to have him here today. He wasn't. I think that's going to get resolved here soon."

Depending on how this plays out, McFadden could be back on the field before Bush signs his tender.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:01 pm

Seahawks, Zach Miller reach agreement

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's sometimes easy to get lost in the maelstrom that is Oakland Raiders football, but tight end Zach Miller was one of the most underrated players at his position during his four-year NFL career. And now he'll take his game some 800 miles north to Seattle where the Seahawks have reached an agreement with the former second-round pick out of Arizona State, the Associated Press is reporting.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets that the deal is for five years, worth $34 million, and includes $17 million in guarantees.

Miller joins Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice as the newest faces on Seattle's offense, and he'll team up with another young tight end with unlimited potential: John Carlson who, because of injuries, changing schemes and quarterbacks, has seen his reception totals decline in each of his three NFL seasons.

On Monday before Miller had agreed to terms but after it was announced he was visiting Seattle, ESPN.com's Mike Sando detailed the plan for Carlson and the Seahawks' tight ends in 2011: "[New offensive coordinator Darrell] Bevell is implementing an offense similar to the one Mike Holmgren ran in Seattle when Holmgren pushed the team to make Carlson a second-round draft choice. That angle still might come into play, but Carlson isn't the only receiving tight end the Seahawks are considering as they move through the early stages of training camp."

In terms of raw numbers, Miller has 226 career receptions for 2,712 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he hauled in 60 catches for 685 yards (5 TDs) in 2010. Carlson, meanwhile, has 137 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns, including 31 catches for 318 yards (1 TD) a season ago.

Miller will be reunited with Tom Cable, the new Seattle assistant head coach/offensive line and former Raiders head coach.

In other Seahawks personnel news (via the AP): Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson has also signed with the team. He spent last season with New Orleans, but his best seasons came in 2008 and 2009 with Tampa Bay when he worked with new Seattle defensive line coach Todd Wash. Wilkerson started a career-high 15 games in 2009 and had career bests in tackles (46) and sacks (6). Wilkerson was the second defensive free agent to reach a deal with Seattle in as many days. The Seahawks brought back cornerback Kelly Jennings on Monday.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 2:33 pm

Zach Miller about to be 'back with the Raiders'?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Raiders made a splash by giving linebacker Kamerion Wimbley a five-year, $48 million deal on Monday, though when we wrote about the deal, we expressed some concern that it could end up costing the team the services of tight end Zach Miller, especially after their franchise-tag flip-flop.

Miller's been visiting the Seahawks (and therefore cranking up a little west-coast drama, as they currently employ ex-Raiders coach Tom Cable) but, according to Raiders radio guy Greg Papa, via the San Francisco Chronicle, the black-and-silver is about to bring their tight end back.

"Zach Miller will be back with the Raiders," Papa said, per Vittorio Tafur. "Al Davis didn't just give Kamerion Wimbley $29 million to lose Zach Miller to Tom Cable."

Papa also said that he expects an announcement to come on Tuesday.

Miller's easily the top free-agent tight end remaining on the open market, and landing him would be a coup for either Oakland or Seattle, both of whom could use an extra safety blanket for their shaky quarterbacks on the roster.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson, per our Raiders Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore, noted as much on the radio Monday night.

"Zach was a Raider last year, we want him to be a Raider now," Jackson said. "That thing is going to come to a head here soon. It has to. I feel good about where we are and, hopefully, he'll get back to us, we'll get back to him, and we'll try to get something resolved."

Based on Papa's claim, that resolution could come sooner than Jackson might have expected.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 8:14 pm

Kamerion Wimbley lands $48M deal from Raiders

Posted by Will Brinson

Kamerion Wimbley was franchise-tagged by the Raiders before the lockout. But, it was only after the Raiders decided to franchise tag tight end Zach Miller, rescinded it, and then hit up Wimbley.

Given that Wimbley cost more than $10 million for just 2011 under that tag, this seemed like a weird move. Whatever, it won't matter because the Raiders have reportedly signed Wimbley to a five-year deal worth $48 million that also contains $29 million in guaranteed money, according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network.

Yes, that's a chunk of change, but the Raiders were bumped up on the salary cap and needed to loosen up some money -- restructuring Wimbley's deal does just that.

Wimbley will turn 28 in October, and he posted nine sacks last year, giving him 35 on his career. So, the deal's not bananas crazy or anything (unless you want to compare it to Nnamdi Asomugha, a former Raider, and what he got on the open market anyway!).

My beef with this whole shebang stems more with the fact that a) there's more value to the money spent on someone like Miller and his relative franchise-tag number, b) they could have signed Wimbley to this deal before the lockout and also tagged Miller, c) they probably could have done so without giving Wimbley as much leverage by telling him he's worth north of $10 million a year, and d) the whole Wimbley saga got started because someone in the Raiders' front office forgot how to do math.

Therefore, it seems only fair to criticize the deal a bit.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 2:23 pm

Raiders flip flop, hit Wimbley with franchise tag

Posted by Will Brinson

Things were going a little TOO well for the Oakland Raiders, weren't they? Well, there's a familiar air of normal oddity floating out of the Bay Thursday, as it appears the Raiders have reversed course on their decision to franchise tight end Zach Miller and are applying the tag to linebacker Kamerion Wimbley

That's because the Raiders apparently made a little boo-boo with Wimbley's contract -- as we previously mentioned, the final buy-back year of his contract was in jeopardy because of some mathematical folly.

Now Adam Caplan of FOX Sports reports that the Raiders have decided to franchise Wimbley, which means that instead of buying back the final year of his rookie contract at $3.5 million, the Raiders will pay him more than $10 million for the 2011 season.

Wimbley's a very good player, but is he worthy of being paid an average of the top-five salaries at his position? Um, no. And that could mean that the Raiders are interested in pursuing a long-term deal with him -- though they've now done a pretty poor job of establishing a baseline for negotiations.

And there's the issue of what to do with Miller if they want to keep both players through at least 2011. They can either seek to sign him to a long-term deal at this point, or use the same RFA tag the Panthers are reportedly popping on DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson to at least squat on his rights for the time being.

Either way, everyone can sleep normally knowing that things are getting dysfunctional with Oakland once again.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com