After enjoying a breakout season in 2015 for the Bears, veteran tight end Zach Miller is eligible for free agency, and according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, he’s aiming high on his next contract. Biggs reports that Miller is asking for $5MM per year on a new deal.
Not to be confused for former Pro Bowler Zach Miller, who spent time with the Raiders and Seahawks, this Zach Miller had an improbable comeback to the NFL in 2015 after not having appeared in a game since the 2011 season due to various injuries. The former sixth-round pick, who came into the season having recorded 45 career receptions, set new career highs by grabbing 34 balls for 439 yards and five touchdowns in 2015.
While the timing of the lucrative new extensions signed by Zach Ertz of the Eagles and Travis Kelce of the Chiefs may appear to help Miller’s case for a big raise, those players are significantly younger than the Bears tight end, and have more impressive résumés.
At age 31, Miller is more comparable to Gary Barnidge, who came out of nowhere at age 30 to rack up 79 catches, 1,043 yards, and nine touchdowns for the Browns. However, even Barnidge, whose numbers were much more impressive than Miller’s, didn’t get a $5MM annual salary on his new extension, so it seems unlikely that Miller will be able to get that high.
Although Miller’s asking price is reportedly at $5MM annually now, that figure could decrease in the coming weeks. If it doesn’t, the tight end may get an opportunity to gauge his value on the open market in March — if he finds that the Bears aren’t the only team unwilling to meet his asking price, it could pave the way for a reunion with Chicago at a lesser rate.
Considering he’s coming off a productive year and is already 31 years old, it’s hard to blame Miller for doing his best to cash in on what will likely be the biggest contract of his NFL career.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.