Seattle Seahawks: Is Zach Miller Joining John Carlson or Replacing Him?

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIAugust 2, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Zach Miller #80 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Miami Dolphins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When Pete Carroll announced over the weekend that Tarvaris Jackson would start at quarterback over Charlie Whitehurst, the coach said the decision was based on Jackson’s knowledge of Darrell Bevell’s offense.

“To make it the most competitive for our team, Tarvaris needs to be our starter right now,” Carroll told reporters. “He comes in as our starter.”

Just like Robert Gallery and Sidney Rice...and now Zach Miller.

All of the Seahawks’ additions on offense have links to Seattle’s new coaches. Jackson and Rice played under Bevell in Minnesota, so they both know the passing game the Hawks plan to use. Gallery played under Tom Cable in Oakland and was long rumored to be on his way to Seattle because of that connection.

The Cable connection worked with Miller, too, as the Hawks surprisingly pulled off a last-minute deal with the Pro Bowl tight end. And they reportedly paid a pretty penny for him: $34 million over five years, with $17 million guaranteed.

It’s a very intriguing move. For two years, I have argued that the 'Hawks should put together a nice two-TE attack. It seemed like they might have it last year with Chris Baker, but Baker was injured too often and coordinator Jeremy Bates made the mistake of using John Carlson as a blocker more than as a receiver.

Assuming Carlson is not traded, Miller and Carlson should provide defenses fits. Who will know which is blocking and which is receiving on a given play? Both can stretch the seams of the defense, which is a prototypical play in the West Coast offense Bevell uses.

After a great first two years, Carlson virtually disappeared in 2010. He’s a great young tight end and the Seahawks need to use him more. Adding Miller, while a luxury, creates all kinds of options. Of course, it would also probably mean this is Carlson’s last year in Seattle (he’s a free agent in 2012). The Seahawks also have promising young tight ends in Cam Morrah and Anthony McCoy.

Because Carlson was drafted under the previous regime, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Carroll and Schneider trade him. But it would be so much smarter to keep him and see what havoc he and Miller could wreak together this season.



The Seahawks had about $40 million to spend under the salary cap entering last week, and they reportedly were still around $20 million before signing Miller. Even after adding him at almost $7 million a year (that’s steep, by the way), they still figure to have at least $10 million left.

That’s probably enough to bring in disgruntled Giants pass rusher Osi Umenyiora, if the price is right. The Seahawks reportedly have shown interest, which is kind of odd because they are trying to get younger and Umenyiora is 29. Of course, he also has 32 sacks and 19 forced fumbles over the last three years.

The Giants want a first-round pick, and Umenyiora—unhappy with a deal that will pay him $3.1 million this year—surely wants a deal that at least equals the six-year, $72 million contract that relative unknown Charles Johnson signed with Carolina.

The Seahawks aren’t going to give up their first-round pick—they’re saving it for a quarterback next year—but they might be willing to offer up a second-rounder.

Or, maybe they will offer John Carlson …

Go Outside the Press Box to find out why releasing Lofa Tatupu seems to be right up there with Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s worst moves.