Well, the unthinkable has become a cold reality. Coming off the best season of football in the Easy Bay in nearly a decade the Oakland Raiders were pitted with all kinds of personnel issues. Amid the many problems in piecing together a roster for the 2011 season was the prospect of having to re-sign the most important players on both the offense and defense.
It seemed a given that Nnamdi Asomugha was a goner. Al Davis pretty much waved goodbye to his best cover corner the second Asomugha’s contract was voided.
Now Zach Miller on the other hand…there was no way the Raiders were going to lose him. Miller meant the world to Oakland’s offense. He’d been among the NFL’s most consistent producers at the tight end position over the years. Without Miller the Raiders really don’t have much to lean on in the passing game.
No way Al lets him walk! We all chanted that mantra throughout the 4 and a half months in which players were greeted by padlocks at team facilities nationwide.
Well, Tom Cable had something to say about the matter.
Today the unimaginable became a harsh reality as the Seattle Seahawks reeled in the most prized tight end on the free agent market – one Zach Miller, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
Cable clearly had an in with Miller that Davis didn’t. In fact, when you step back and look at it, Davis pretty mush forced Miller out of Oakland.
As the Raiders rushed to secure contracts for many of their free agents prior to the lockout, Miller was lost in the shuffle. Davis chose to use his franchise tag on Kamerion Wimbley who yesterday shed the tag in favor of a 5-year contract. Instead Davis knowingly placed a potentially pointless tender on Miller hoping the new CBA would carryover language from the old thus making Miller a restricted FA.
The new CBA allowed Miller to test the waters free and clear of any restrictions.
While Davis was busy trying to free up cash for Miller, Zach was sharing a few laughs with Cable as the two plotted to give Davis the finger.
As Al acted quickly to retain Stanford Routt and Richard Seymour, Miller was taking his time reading the writing on the wall.
Miller must have felt forgotten. His services clearly did not warrant priority seating in the waiting room outside of Al’s office.
To make matters worse each of the last three days has been filled with countless reports of the all-but-certain re-signing of Miller. Even Greg Papa himself used his golden voice to express his certainty in Miller re-committing to excellence.
Miller’s not walking through that door, Al.
So, what is Plan B? Mr. Davis knew this was a real possibility. Why else would he draft two tight ends? The problem is there is nothing out there anywhere near comparable to replacing Miller’s production. He was the weapon that kept every defense on its toes. While the young receivers struggled through up and down performances Miller was the constant. As the running game defined the offense it was Miller who kept adding new words to the offensive vocabulary.
Now what? Al was holding all the cards and somehow managed to bust despite having the nuts on the flop and the turn. But like many gamblers Mr. Davis saw his hand die a miserable death on the river.
Nnamdi is an Eagle. Miller is a Seahawk. What next? Darren McFadden a Falcon?