As soon as this offseason began, the Raiders and Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller were busy trying to hammer out a long term deal to keep him in Oakland. That deal was never reached and instead the Raiders placed the highest level franchise tender in an attempt to keep him a Raider.
The way those negotiations went down must not have pleased Miller because he has dropped his former agent, Justin Shulman of Athletes First, and has signed with super agent Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA.
Hearing that a player has changed agents when he was unable to get a deal done with a particular team is typically good news. It usually means that at some point in the process, the player thought the team was being reasonable and the agent was not. Or in other cases perhaps the player tested the market and realized that the best deal was with a team that had already made an offer but the agent had burned that bridge.
In this case, however, it is not the simple act of changing agents that sends out the loudest signals — it’s the agent to whom he switched. Just off the top, Tom Condon is known for driving up the price on his clients.
Then there is the fact that Condon and Dogra represent current Raiders Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Huff. Asomugha got his monster deal two seasons ago and this offseason a clause in the contract voided the final year of that deal. He is now set for free agency and it looks as if the Raiders will not be able to afford the kind of contract he will command.
Huff is also a free agent to be and there have been whispers that the Raiders not re-signing him could be because of a little known clause in his contract as well.
So an extremely important piece of the Raiders team is now represented by an agent who has two immediate examples of players for whom he has written up big money contracts that included out clauses. And he is going to insist Miller get the same kind of contract… with someone.
There is no way this is a situation in which Miller just wants fair market value from the Raiders. He knows that Al Davis has never shied away from offering his players over market value. What this move says is that Miller wants record money or he wants out of Oakland, two aspects of contracts that Condon has put on Al Davis’ desk in recent years. That is the service that Zach has signed on to receive.