The Steelers came to a contract extension with Heath Miller last night that will pay the tight end $35.3 million over the next six seasons.
Miller had one year left on the five-year contract he signed as a rookie, when he was the Steelers' first-round draft choice in 2005. The contract includes a $12.5 million signing bonus.
Miller, 26, would have become an unrestricted free agent in March, provided the NFL has a new collective bargaining agreement by then. If not, Miller would have been a restricted free agent under new rules that players would need six years rather than four if there is no new CBA.
Although Miller has never been a Pro Bowl player, the Steelers regard him as one of the best tight ends in the league because of his ability both as a receiver and an excellent blocker.
He caught 48 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games last season. He added 11 receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown in the postseason. Over his four-year career, Miller has started 61 of the 62 games he has played, caught 168 passes for 1,932 yards and had 21 touchdown receptions in the regular season.
Miller was scheduled to earn a salary of $900,000 this season plus an additional $750,000 in a roster bonus.
The Steelers report to training camp tomorrow at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at