Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Roy Miller‘s agent has told the media that talks between his client and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not resulted in a deal being reached, and that Miller will likely hit the free agent market. According to an article by Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, Miller’s agent told the media that Roy has a lot to offer because he was a part of the best run defense in the NFL in 2012. Miller’s agent, Mike McCartney, has revealed the exact reason why Miller is likely not going to be a Buccaneer in 2012.
Miller’s mere presence in the Tampa Bay defense overshadowed his lack of impact on the team.
Miller was a rushing downs mainstay, seeing the field in obvious rushing situations to clog up the middle and give room for other players to make tackles. But by the end of the season, he was playing only 20 to 30 snaps per game on defense, sitting out upwards of 50 defensive snaps in the closing weeks of the 2012 regular season. He graded out very poorly according to Pro Football Focus, especially in pass rushing. Surprisingly, he did not grade out positively as a contributor to the rush defense, either, and therefore mainly served as just a space eater. And while this is an important role in a defense, it is not a role that needs to overpaid for.
The Buccaneers have been very careful with spending over the past few years, and that’s a trend that will not change any time soon. The Bucs are in a good place as far as the salary cap is concerned, and can sign any player they deem suitable at any time. But throwing money at situational players is not a part of a successful financial strategy, and is something Mark Dominik is likely to avoid in the 2013 offseason. Learning from the mistake of paying a premium to keep Quincy Black, a situational run defender who sat out a large amount of defensive snaps, the Buccaneers will likely allow the market to overreact to Miller’s perceived role in the Buccaneers’ dominant run defense.
There are affordable options at the position available in free agency or the NFL draft. The “tilted nose” position in Greg Schiano’s defense was a good fit for Miller, but other free agents such as Sammie Lee Hill of the Lions or Mike DeVito of the Jets could likely fill the same role with no visible difference in the defense. So while Miller is, by all accounts, a fantastic young man who has drawn the praise of his coaches, he could be a victim of the business nature of the NFL. He’ll likely get a decent paycheck this offseason, and it won’t be from the Buccaneers. And from an on-the-field perspective, that’s not the end of the world.