Raiders former head coach Tom Cable was fired after last season, a season in which the team reached the .500 plateau for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002. Despite that semi-resurgence, he was fired as head coach to make way for then offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting, Hue Jackson. Cable was quickly snapped up to coach the offensive line in Seattle. Since then the rumors of players following Cable to Seattle have been flying.
There was some anger among Raider players when Cable was fired. The only player to vocalize his complaint was punter Shane Lechler. But he also foretold of several free-agent-to-be Raiders who were angry and might opt to leave Oakland because of it.
The first player to make the leap was former starting left guard, Robert Gallery. He made it clear that he and the Raiders would be parting ways following the season when he reportedly was asking for a salary somewhere in the ballpark of $8 million per season and the Raiders countered with $2.5 million. He was insulted by what he saw as a lowball figure and was more than happy to accept Cable’s invitation to join him in Seattle.
Today the two teams were at it again. First it was reported that the Raiders were looking at linebacker Lofa Tatupu who was recently released by the Seahawks. Then shortly thereafter, the news came out that Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller was visiting Seattle.
The Tatupu signing in Oakland makes a lot of sense due to the lack of quality competition at the Raiders’ weak side linebacker spot. The team let Thomas Howard leave in free agency and injured Trevor Scott may well be moving back to defensive end. That leaves just Quentin Groves from last season.
The Zach Miller situation is a tenuous one because all indications were that he would be back with the Raiders. Up to this point, there had been no word of Miller in discussions with any team. He is one of the best tight ends in the league, so the fact that he was making no visits or fielding calls implied that he was either dealing exclusively with the Raiders or that he had already reached an agreement with the team.
The visit to Seattle could just be Miller testing his free agent worth before signing a contract with the Raiders. Or it could be Tom Cable trying to steal a prize free agent from the team that slighted him after what he considered to be a successful season. Signing for Seattle doesn’t make a lot of sense due to the fact that they have a fine tight end of their own in John Carlson. From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to offer Miller a big contract.
For the Raiders, it makes absolute sense. Miller is the Raiders’ most important offensive player. He has led the team in receiving the last three seasons and every bit of offensive success they have had has his fingerprints on it.
I can’t imagine Al Davis allowing Miller to get away if there is any way he can stop it. Without Miller, there is just Brandon Myers, a practice squad player, and two rookies.
Let’s remember how free agency goes sometimes — a lot of rumors, speculation, and bluffing. Michael Huff was supposed to be leaving for sure and he is back. He claims he was never going anywhere. Nnamdi Asomugha had the same suitors for months in the Jets and Texans. Then the Cowboys were supposedly in the mix. And in the end he was an Eagle.
So let’s try not to yell ‘fire’ in the theatre and trample anyone to death. This thing will work itself out and I fully expect he will be in a Raider uniform come Thursday.