If you remember several years ago Tim Ruskell pulled out all the stops to obtain then free agent guard Kris Dielman.
Considered the best interior lineman on the market, Ruskell actually had the right idea on this one, and showered Dielman with the money he should have offered Steve Hutchinson in the first place.
I remember writing a blog about that courtship. I remember they wined and dined him and had his number picked out and his name all over the then Qwest Field board. Ruskell, as much as I blast and ridicule him for some of his boneheaded moves and the fact he alienated Mike Holmgren; he had the right idea on this one.
In the end, weather turned out to be a factor, as Dielman returned from a common Seattle nighttime drizzle and accepted $10 million less to stay with San Diego. I remember the quote to be something along the lines of “get me back to sunny San Diego”, and that the next day was one of the most gorgeous days of the year in Seattle.
Some of the same circumstances don’t apply here, but the basic concept may apply to this aggressive move by Pete Carroll to surround unproven quarterback Tarvaris Jackson with a trio of towering primary pass catchers. Mike Williams and Miller both stand at 6″5 and Sidney Rice comes it at 6″4 and maybe a half an inch as well.
Getting impatient with waiting for the Raiders, Miller is currently in Seattle discussing a contract and all indications are the Seahawks will do what it takes to sign him and that they are indeed near a deal. The Seahawks are flush with resources, even more so then when they pursued Dielman. They have a squad that is young and on the rise instead of an aging unit that reached the climax of their production in 2005, hit the ceiling in 2007, and crumpled on the floor in 2008.
Paul Allens checkbook can do some magical things, and not just in the way of a nice payday. The Seahawks have arguably the best training facilities in the league and arriving to them on private seaplane certainly doesn’t hurt either. It’s interesting, because so many people call Seattle “NFL Siberia”, but when athletes come here, they generally and genuinely find it’s a great place to live. His money also turned into the undisputed best home field advantage in football and arguably American professional sports.
Right after Miller took off for Sea-Town, I think the Raiders panicked, because they agreed to a lucrative contract with linebacker Kamerion Wimbley that freed roughly half of an $11 million franchise tag figure that would have counted against the cap. Part of the Miller-Oakland waiting game was/is finances; Miller knew Oakland didn’t have the resources to offer him a good enough contract for his Pro Bowl pedigree.
Now they have enough cap room to go to battle with Pete Carroll for the teams leading pass catcher the past three seasons, something that wasn’t likely possible before Miller arrived in Seattle. It has been documented by several media outlets that this might be a ploy to let the Raiders know he’s not joking around about a long term deal. As early as this morning, it was reported as a formality that Miller would re-sign with the Raiders, and the tune has changed quite dramatically in a span of about 7 hours. There haven’t been any reports of tension or displeasure between the Raiders and Miller, which makes it logical that Seattle may be getting used in an effort to get the Raiders to give him the contract he desires.
That’s just a theory, and I have never been one to blame athletes for trying to maximize their potential earnings while their body allows them to. Miller, 25, has pro bowl pedigree and has led the Raiders in receptions the past three seasons; he certainly is entitled to cash in just as he’s hitting his prime. Another strange thing is that Miller is the top available free agent tight end available, but there hasn’t been any reported external interest in his services until the trip to Seattle today.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the idea of having a potential Miller-Carlson combo, and Seattle certainly has the resources to keep him from leaving Renton; and all indications are they plan on using however much of those resources they need to make sure he doesn’t see the Raiders again until September 2nd. Don’t discount the Tom Cable relationship either; by all means, he is the reason Robert Gallery signed with the Seahawks, don’t take that from me, the man himself actually said it:
“He (Cable) was a big factor, I know how he coaches, how he treats guys, and the way he handled himself as a head coach and line coach in Oakland. Also the situation here, it’s a great place, it’s run well from top to bottom, and I wanted to continue to grow under (Cable). Everybody knows how much I respect him.”
It’s ironic that Tom Cable helped Seattle finally accomplished what the premise of this article reminds us they couldn’t pull off a couple years ago; find an actual quality guard to finally fill Hutchs’ shoes.
He may be close to sealing the deal at yet another top free agent for the Seahawks as early as tomorrow morning. By then we should know if Miller’s interest is genuine or if the Seahawks are facing Kris Dielman 2.0.
Regardless, as Raiders coach Hue Jackson stated: “it’s going to be a war”.
“The Professor” John Clayton has been twittering a couple vague updates on the Zach Miller situation:
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