One of the most unstable positions for the Oakland Raiders over the last few years has been the tight end position, where they have had a different starter each of the past three seasons.
In 2010, it was 2007 second-round draft pick from Zach Miller starting in Oakland for the fourth straight year.
In 2011, it was free agent acquisition Kevin Boss, who signed a four-year, $16 million contract before being released a year later as a part of Reggie McKenzie's cost-cutting roster overhaul.
In 2012, it was Brandon Myers--who had been a back up to the likes of Miller and Boss since being drafted by Oakland in the sixth round in the 2009 NFL Draft--finally getting his chance.
Myers made the most of his chance by recording 79 catches for 806 yards (including 11 games with at least four catches) and his first four career touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Myers did so in a contract year.
Now that Myers has a chance to test free agency coming off his best year in the NFL, it may not be so easy for the Raiders to keep him with the kind of money other teams in the open market may offer him..
It didn't take much money for the Chicago Bears to sign Michael Bush away from the Raiders because the Raiders are up against the wall in terms of cap space so re-signing any of their players will be somewhat challenging.
With this being Myers' breakout year, some may wonder where Myers has been for his first three years in Oakland, in which he only caught 32 passes with 7.8 yards a catch with no touchdowns. If he has always been this good, then why bring in Boss with a hefty contract to replace Miller rather than letting Myers have the job?
Perhaps it wasn't the player, but the coach that was to thank for the sudden success of Myers. No, I'm not talking about Greg Knapp.
Al Saunders has been working with the tight ends since being replaced by Knapp as offensive coordinator before the 2012 season.
Saunders, considered by many to be an offensive coordinator candidate, did wonders with the position group, as evidenced by the emergence of Myers.
The Raiders also have David Ausberry and Richard Gordon on the roster. Ausberry, who had seven catches for 92 yards in 2012, changed positions from wide receiver to tight end after being drafted in 2011.
The Raiders also converted Marcel Reece from wide receiver upon entering the NFL and look how well he is working out, as Reece really stepped up when other backs went down with injuries. He also has a unique skill set making him difficult to defend.
If Saunders stays in the same role working with tight ends, he could bring Ausberry up to the level that we saw Myers play at last year. Ausberry is slightly faster than Myers running a 4.46 40-time compared to Myers' 4.78 so imagine how much better Ausberry could be if he got into the open field.
I would like to see Myers stay with the Raiders but, with the salary cap situation being the way it is and Myers making a name for himself this past season, he could be out of reach if he hits the open market.