The Oakland Raiders’ offensive line hasn’t been great this season, and the absence of left tackle Jared Veldheer was a big part of that instability. With him back in the fold, the blocking has seen significant improvement.
That’s why the Raiders and Veldheer are working on a deal that will keep the young tackle in Oakland for the foreseeable future.
“They’re in talks right now. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about finishing the year out and playing these last four games,” Veldheer said. “… I believe that, if I handle that and play as well as I can play, good things will follow there. I’m really hoping and I’m pretty confident that I’ll continue to keep playing in Oakland.”
In the final year of his rookie contract, Veldheer is set to be a free agent in 2014. The Raiders, however, aren’t interested in letting one of the top up-and-coming left tackles in the NFL hit the open market. That does, however, mean that they’ll have to fork up a pretty penny to keep Veldheer in Oakland – as we’ve seen in recent years, legitimate left tackles are rather expensive.
Veldheer missed the first 11 games of the 2013 season while rehabbing a partially torn triceps he suffered back in August. When he finally returned to action against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, he played every snap as the blindside blocker, giving up only one hurry and zero sacks on undrafted rookie Matt McGloin.
Last season, Veldheer graded out as the ninth-best pass protecting tackle in the NFL. His showing against the Cowboys proved that the injury didn’t deteriorate his talent.
If McGloin or Terrelle Pryor are going to be successful moving forward, the Raiders need an upper-echelon left tackle. Extending Veldheer would be a great insurance policy for whoever is under center.
Expect a deal to get done soon.