No Reason To Think Steelers TE Heath Miller Is Close To Being Done

So far during the offseason, there has been a large group of the of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base that wants the team to draft a tight end early in this year’s draft to begin grooming to take over for veteran Heath Miller. In fact, prior to him getting extended several weeks ago, I even saw a few fans suggesting that the team should cut Miller outright because of the salary he was originally scheduled to earn. Miller, however, is far from being done.

While Miller only registered 58 catches for 593 yards and one touchdown last season, it’s important to remember that he only played in 14 games. If you stretch out those numbers two more games based on his final stats, he would have likely finished with around 66 catches for 678 yards. To put that into perspective, there were only seven other tight ends in the league last year that caught more than 66 passes.

Despite registering a career-low 10.2 yards per reception in 2013, Miller still caught 73.4% of the passes thrown his way. That catch percentage was the highest on the team of all Steelers players targeted six or more times.

To put that completion percentage into an even better perspective, of the tight ends last season that were targeted 40 or more times, only Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins had a better completion percentage (76.3%).

As far as Miller’s touchdown production being virtually nonexistent last season, he was only targeted four times from 10 yards and in. He caught two of those passes with one going for a touchdown on a shovel pass. That’s a far cry from the 14 times he was targeted in that area of the field in 2012.

Miller’s 2013 season was quite amazing when you consider that he wasn’t even one full year removed from the serious knee injury he suffered in 2012 until the Week 16 game against the Green Bay Packers last season. He’s had a full offseason now being completely healthy and he’s still only 31 years-old.

Now, will Miller ever have another season like he had in 2012? I wouldn’t rule it out, but even if he doesn’t, a 60 catch, 650 yard season in 2014 certainly seems to be achievable for him. In other words, it’s ludicrous to think he’s close to being done and there’s no reason to think that he won’t be able to play out his current contract that now runs through the 2016 season.

YEARTARGRECREC %YDSTDYAC/RECYPR10 YD TARG10 YD REC10 YD REC %10 YD YDS10 YD TD
2005523975.0%4596N/A11.85480.0%174
2006553461.8%3935N/A11.68450.0%103
2007614777.0%56675.312.06583.3%112
2008664872.7%51435.410.74375.0%103
2009987677.6%78965.610.44250.0%71
2010674262.7%51225.912.24250.0%71
2011745168.9%63125.212.44125.0%81
20121017170.3%81685.111.514964.3%447
2013795873.4%59314.810.24250.0%101