Tight end Zach Miller got good news on two fronts in the last two days.
First he learned Thursday the Raiders had placed a first- and third-round tender on him as a restricted free agent, a sure sign the club considered him a valuable part of the future.
On Friday, Miller, the Raiders’ player rep, was pleased to see NFL Player’s Association and owners had agreed to a one-week extension and finally appeared to be making progress toward a collective bargaining agreement.
“I’m definitely optimistic now after it seemed like the owners were close to locking us out,” Miller said in a phone interview Friday. “We’ve wanted a deal all along, and I hope we can come to an agreement as soon as possible.
Miller could speak only in general terms about negotiations since the both sides agreed to a gag order in terms of specifics.
As for the first- and third-round tender, Miller viewed it as a sign he may not be changing uniforms in 2011.
“It does feel good,” Miller said. “It’d be great to be back in Oakland. I really feel like we’re headed in the right direction with Hue Jackson and the way things are going. We had preliminary discussions (on a contract) before deadline and I’m sure they’ll pick up again once there’s a CBA in place and we get back to business.”
Miller and Michael Bush both received first- and third-round tenders, which represents the cost a team would have to pay the Raiders should they be signed in free agency, with Oakland having the opportunity to match any offer sheet. The Raiders used the the designations as insurance to keep the two players tied to Oakland in the event a new CBA doesn’t grant unrestricted free agent status to four-year veterans.
A first- and third-round designation for a four-year veteran last year carried with it a salary fo $3.168 million. The Raiders locked up Stanford Routt with a first- and third tender last year and this year awarded him with a three-year extension worth $31.5 million.
Other players were likely tendered as well, but the Raiders aren’t confirming any of them _ including Miller and Bush.
SMITH CHARGED WITH MURDER
Disturbing story out of Southern California, via Profootballtalk.com, that former Raiders first-round pick Anthony Smith has been charged with murder.
Smith, a defensive end, was one of the Raiders best pass rushers out of Arizona and the No. 11 overall pick of the 1990 draft.
Alternately funny and engaging and then sullen and moody, Smith was suspended by Joe Bugel in 1997 for conduct detrimental to the team for what was reported as a physical altercation with an assistant coach.