Bears GM Ryan Pace told reporters on Thursday that they will allow TE Zach Miller test the free agent in the coming weeks, even though negotiations are ongoing.
“What happens at this stage in the game is you understand the reality that a lot of times these guys have to hit the open market to set their value,” Pace said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN. “I understand that’s the case with a lot of these positions. That’s the necessary place that we’re in right now. We like Zach, I don’t want to go through every one of our unrestricted free agents, but he’s a guy we’d want back and we’re negotiating with him.”
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune previously reported that Miller is seeking $5 million per year in his next contract.
According to Biggs, unless Miller decides to lower his asking price, it’s hard to imagine the Bears re-signing him before the start of free agency.
The Bears are in an interesting situation in regards to the tight end position, as there has been talk that they could move on from veteran TE Martellus Bennett.
Miller, 31, is a former sixth-rouond pick of the Jaguars back in 2009. He signed a one-year, $660,000 contract with the Bears last year and is now in position to secure a sizable raise in the coming months.
In 2015, Miller produced career highs across the board with 34 receptions for 439 yards receiving and five touchdowns over the course of 15 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 6 tight end out of 73 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.