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Originally published August 2, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Page modified August 3, 2011 at 1:01 AM

Seahawks bolster tight end by adding Zach Miller

Seattle agrees with Raider on reported five-year, $34 million deal with at least $18 million guaranteed.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes We got better today, SeahawkNation welcomes a new weapon in Zach Miller. This team is... Read more
quotes Another day, another premier free agent signing. What's next Pete and John, going trade... Read more
quotes Great job. I have never seen a team rebuild so fast. Again GREAT JOB. Read more

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RENTON — Zach Miller is a tight end known for his hands after catching at least 60 passes in two successive seasons.

That's not the only reason the Seahawks think he's a catch, though, after signing him away from Oakland. Seattle sees an elite receiver who's also a blocker unafraid to get his hands dirty in the trenches.

"He makes us a more versatile offense," coach Pete Carroll said.

He better because Seattle backed up the Brinks truck to sign him. He will sign a five-year deal worth a total of $34 million, according to reports. He's assured of receiving at least $18 million.

The signing was considered a coup for Seattle, one credited in part to new offensive-line coach Tom Cable, who was in Oakland for Miller's four seasons.

Seattle has been among the most aggressive teams in free agency, Miller being the fourth starter the team signed in five days.

The difference is that this was not a move made out of necessity. Seattle needed a quarterback after choosing not to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck, which is why Tarvaris Jackson is here. Robert Gallery is the veteran left guard that Seattle clearly planned to add while Sidney Rice is the hot rod of a receiver the Seahawks have been chasing since last year when they were sniffing around Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson.

Miller's addition is different. Tight end isn't a position that was considered a weakness. In fact, some saw it as a strength. Seattle has John Carlson as the incumbent starter, and while his production slid last season, all he did in his first two seasons as a Seahawk was finish with the two highest season reception totals of any tight end in team history.

The Seahawks also have Cameron Morrah, who showed promise last season, and Anthony McCoy, who Carroll thought had the potential to be the most well-rounded tight end on the team.

But Miller's production is a notch above. A second-round pick out of Arizona State in 2007, he has never caught fewer than 40 passes in any of his four NFL seasons. He has more than 60 receptions in each of the past two, and at 25, he's younger than Carlson, 27.

Carlson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but before anyone goes projecting a trade out of town, Carroll was asked if there's room for both Carlson and Miller on the roster.

"Absolutely," Carroll said. "It's exactly what's in our mind. Anybody thinks otherwise doesn't get it. We think those guys will play together in tandem."

Seattle frequently used two tight-end sets last season. The difference was the Seahawks were pairing a blocking specialist in Chris Baker with Carlson. The fact Seattle played for a month without a fullback also complicated matters as Carlson took on more pass-protection assignments.

How will Carlson and Miller look together?

"They'll be on opposite sides," Carroll said. "We'll be moving them around for matchups and all kinds of stuff. I think it's a great asset for us now."

Carlson met Miller in previous seasons, and he saw Miller when he was visiting Seattle as a free agent on Monday.

"I think he'll make the team better," Carlson said. "And I look forward to seeing what we can do with the two tight-end packages, and see what we can do offensively."

That won't just be in the passing game, either. Tight ends are the offensive hybrids, part blocker and part receiver, and as teammates in Oakland, new guard Robert Gallery said Miller excels at both.

"He's definitely not just a pass-catching tight end," Gallery said. "He'll stick his nose in there and he does a great job blocking. He's definitely two-dimensional in that aspect."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Who's who
Having a hard time keeping up with the Seahawks roster moves? Here's a look at who started the most games at each position in 2010, and a projected starting lineup for Week 1.
2010 starter 2011 starter
Ben Obomanu Wide receiver Sidney Rice
Russell Okung Left tackle Russell Okung
Ben Hamilton Left guard Robert Gallery
Chris Spencer Center Max Unger
Stacy Andrews Right guard John Moffitt
Sean Locklear Right tackle James Carpenter
John Carlson Tight end Zach Miller
Mike Williams Wide receiver Mike Williams
Matt Hasselbeck Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
Chris Baker Tight end/full back Michael Robinson
Justin Forsett Running back Marshawn Lynch
Chris Clemons Left defensive end Chris Clemons
Brandon Mebane Left defensive tackle Brandon Mebane
Colin Cole Right defensive tackle Alan Branch
Kentwan Balmer Right defensive end Red Bryant
David Hawthorne Outside linebacker Leroy Hill
Lofa Tatupu Middle linebacker David Hawthorne
Aaron Curry Outside linebacker Aaron Curry
Marcus Trufant Left cornerback Marcus Trufant
Kelly Jennings Right cornerback Walter Thurmond
Lawyer Milloy Strong safety Kam Chancellor
Earl Thomas Free safety Earl Thomas
Gray: No longer on the team

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