For the first time since he signed with the University of Texas in 2005, Roy Miller is on the open market.
The fourth-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle appears ready to test the free-agent waters for the first time in his young NFL career after talks broke down between his agent and the team last week.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Bucs’ original offer was “insulting” and nowhere near what Miller’s representatives were seeking for an integral cog in the NFL’s top-ranked run defense last season.
“Roy is excited to see what’s out there for him in free agency,” his agent, Mike McCartney, told the Tampa Bay Times last week. “He has a lot to offer after an excellent season, helping a team that was last against the run (in 2011) go to No. 1 … last season.”
Miller, a 6-foot-2, 310-pound former Shoemaker standout, declined comment until the start of free agency out of courtesy to the Tampa organization.
A third-round pick out of Texas in 2009, the 25-year-old Miller can begin negotiating with other clubs beginning Saturday, kicking off the NFL’s three-day negotiating window before the official start of free agency March 12.
News of the split in talks broke Feb. 28, a day after Miller apparently expressed his disappointment in his contract situation when he tweeted: “This is a sad day for the mill.”
Miller only had 24 tackles last season. But stats don’t even begin to tell his worth. As the starting nose guard in the Bucs’ 4-3 alignment, Miller was tasked with clogging the middle and occupying two blocks at a time in order to allow 2010 first-round pick Gerald McCoy and Tampa’s defensive ends one-on-one assignments to make a play on the ball, or the quarterback.
McCoy has been one of Miller’s biggest supporters in their time together, praising Miller’s work and even going so far as to credit him with McCoy making his first Pro Bowl this season. With Miller playing in mostly first and second down situations, Tampa allowed only 3.5 yards per carry and just 82.5 rushing yards per game, both NFL lows. The one issue for the Bucs’ defense this season was against the pass, allowing a league worst 297.4 yards per game. But Miller didn’t usually play during third downs or traditional passing downs.