Nobody thought that Zach Miller would leave, even if he was visiting the Seattle Seahawks. Oakland Raiders radio announcer Greg Papa said Tuesday morning on a radio show that he expected a deal to be done today (Tuesday) to keep Miller in Oakland.
Let's look at why the Raiders have lost the services of their leading receiver over the last three seasons.
It starts with the lockout and the new CBA.
Miller was originally supposed to be a restricted free agent after his first four seasons. Now he is unrestricted because of the language in the new CBA. Not only did the CBA language change Miller's status, the lockout took away four months that the Raiders could have negotiated with Miller. Not only that, the Raiders had no time to exclusively negotiate with Miller after the lockout.
We can also thank Kamerion Wimbley and his agent Joe Linta.
They took over a week to restructure Wimbley's contract for cap room, and they made him an overpaid player. While they made him the fourth highest paid linebacker in the NFL, Miller lost patience and began seeking employment around the NFL. Is Wimbley the fourth best linebacker in the NFL? He better become that, because while he got a new five year deal, he cost the Raiders their second-best offensive player.
Let's also give thanks to Tom Cable, the assistant head coach in Seattle, as well as O-line coach. Cable knows what a hot commodity Miller is, and he saw Miller going undetected around the league as an unrestricted free agent. Cable must be proud of himself for dealing this big blow to the Raiders. The last time he dealt a blow this big, it broke Randy Hanson's jaw.
The Raiders have a good tight end in Brandon Myers, who they drafted from Iowa in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. He filled in for an injured Zach Miller last year and was okay, but he has a way to go to live up to the bar Miller set at the position since 2007.
Myers is my pick to replace Miller. He has been in Hue Jackson's offense and knows it better than a free agent who would have about six weeks to learn the playbook before the season opener. There is also David Ausberry, who the Raiders just drafted from USC. But I would take a free agent who is learning a new system over a late-round rookie learning a new league.