49ers, Bruce Miller have had preliminary contract extension talks, per ESPN

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is reporting the 49ers have had some preliminary contract extension talks with fullback Bruce Miller. We break down the news.

The 2014 offseason is still in its early stages, but the 49ers appear to be trying to get some work done. A few days after Matt Maiocco reported the 49ers and Anquan Boldin have begun contract talks, we have word of more negotiations. According to ESPN's Bill Williamson, the 49ers have "had preliminary talks of an extension with [Bruce] Miller" and "there is mutual interest."

Williamson said it was merely preliminary, and a deal was not imminent, but it is still not surprising that the team would be working on this. While Miller's deal is not a simple one to figure out, it would likely be one of the more reasonable deals. While we want to see things like a Kap deal and a Boldin deal, it makes sense to get smaller deals done as well to set up the kind of space the team will have for these other deals.

I suggest it is not a simple one because of the nature of fullbacks in the NFL. The position is going the way of the Dodo for many teams, but the 49ers continue to utilize the fullback quite extensively. Furthermore, in 2013 we saw Miller become the de facto replacement for Delanie Walker. While Walker was listed as a tight end, he played in a joker role, moving around from tight end to fullback to wide receiver to H-back. Miller did not have quite as an extensive repertoire in 2013, but he took over a lot of the things Walker did.

This won't make for an overly expensive deal, but I do wonder what kind of extension we might see. Miller will earn a base salary of $1.389 milion thanks to his proven performance escalator. It makes him the sixth highest paid fullback. Vonta Leach is next on the list at $1.75 million, and Marcel Reece is at the top at $2.95 million. I don't think the 49ers suddenly make Miller the top paid fullback, but it will be interesting to see how a sort of "dying" positional market impacts Miller contract talks.

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