CBSSports' Jason La Canfora recently assembled a list of the 11 biggest bargains in the NFL, according to their contract salary, and to go along with that list he also put together the 11 players with worst contracts in the league. Some of the players among the worst were to be expected - Kevin Kolb, Brandon Marshall, and Mark Sanchez - but I was surprised to see Zach Miller's name appear as well. Per La Canfora:
Zach Miller, Seahawks, TE, $6M: The Seahawks expected a game-breaker when they signed him as a free agent, pretty much the only one of the Raiders' 2011 top free agents Al Davis did not hand over ridiculous amounts of cash to retain. Instead, he never found his way in 2011 and, following the trade for tight end Kellen Winslow, when healthy a good pass catcher, the plot has only thickened in Seattle. The Seahawks are certainly hoping for bigger things from another 2011 free-agent splash, WR Sidney Rice, set to make $7 million this season.
I suppose it's true that the Seahawks would have liked Miller to catch more passes last year as their starting tight end, but saying 'he never found his way' is a bit of an overstatement, in my opinion. Miller was extremely effective as a blocking tight end - overwhelmingly what the Seahawks asked him to do in 2011 - often playing as a de facto 6th offensive lineman. Now - when you're paying a tight end $6 million dollars, La Canfora certainly has a point that you'd hope he'd be a game breaker, but from my perspective the Seahawks simply asked him to bite the bullet this season, protect the quarterback, and spring Marshawn Lynch for big runs. Miller didn't fail in the eyes of the Seahawks because he excelled at what he was asked to do - and that's why I disagree that he should be counted among the worst NFL contracts.
I also think that when used in tandem with Kellen Winslow, Miller may find more opportunities to catch passes as defenses focus in on the Seahawks' joker TE. More important to the equation though is the play from the Seahawks' starting five offensive linemen. If they can manage to protect the starting quarterback, whoever it turns out to be, Miller can be expected to release into routes more often and better earn his pay as a dual threat.
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