Oakland Raiders Rumors: Deal With OT Jared Veldheer Could Be Close

Peter G. Aiken/Contributor

The deadline to drop the franchise tag on a team’s players came and went without the Oakland Raiders using it on either of the team’s two high-priority players, defensive lineman Lamarr Houston and offensive lineman Jared Veldheer. The non-move was met with a lot of consternation and questions among the Raider faithful.

Fans were left wondering what GM Reggie McKenzie was doing; whether he was planning to let them both walk in free agency, or if a deal was being hammered out behind the scenes. We have an answer, at least in the case of Jared Veldheer as Christopher Hanson of Raidersblog.com is suggesting that the Raiders and Veldheer are very near an agreement to keep the foundation of their offensive line in Oakland.

 “Source tells me the #Raidersand Jared Veldheer have agreed to 5-year deal with 6th year option. $23 guaranteed. Total value $55M.

— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) March 7, 2014”

Though in subsequent Tweets, Hansen was careful to say that he is working on obtaining a secondary, corroborating source, and that no contract has yet been finalized between the Raiders and Veldheer.

“Let me reiterate that the deal hasn’t been signed yet. Could be final wrinkles to iron out.

— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) March 7, 2014”

Obviously, pen has not yet touched paper, and with so many moving parts, there is still the potential for the deal to not come to fruition. However, it should be an encouraging step forward for Raider fans. Though the $55 million price tag for the offensive tackle seems a little steep, the deal might be less than what Veldheer could have commanded on the open market.

And at slightly more than $9 million per year, if all six years of the contract are played out, the deal comes at a better rate than what they would have paid him for a single year under the franchise tag.

Though he certainly still has some growing to do yet before he can be considered one of the elite tackles in the league, the Raiders got a glimpse of just how important he was to the team when he missed most of the season with an injury. That is likely what made McKenzie so adamant about locking the big lineman into a multi-year deal.

The Raiders don’t have many foundation players on their roster at the moment, so building the offensive line with one of the few they do have is a smart move. Veldheer will be able to anchor the line for the next five or six years, and help shape and define the team’s offensive identity moving forward.

If the report is true and Veldheer signs the contract that is being reported, Raider fans should breathe a sigh of relief and congratulate McKenzie on a job well done. The signing would be a win-win for both Veldheer and the Raiders.

Kevin Saito is a fiction writer, sports junkie, history nerd, and NFL Contributor at RantSports.com  He’s just a “clown with an opinion” and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or on Google


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  • Raider Grant

    Can’t wait until deal finalized. Hopefully Veldheer stays healthy & productive! Go Raiders

    • saito8204

      Hopefully he can stay healthy and productive. The team needs him. The Raiders absolutely need those bedrock players to build the franchise around, and Veldheer is definitely one of them.

  • Trevor

    Now he just needs to lock down Houston…. I still don’t understand why RM didn’t use the transition tag on Houston… But if he signs then whatever… But if they just let Houston walk… I just can’t understand the reasoning behind it

    • saito8204

      I have to wonder if he’s going to let Houston walk. If they’d used the franchise tag on him, they’d be on the hook for $13 million for the season. That’s a pretty big cap hit for somebody that produced 6 sacks last season. They could likely get Jared Allen at a (maybe) cheaper price, and he produced 11.5. Or they’re looking at retooling the whole defensive line with guys who can get to the quarterback and plug running lanes, but are way more cost effective. That’s about the only thing I can think of.

      • Trevor

        No they wouldn’t… I didn’t say to FRANCHISE Houston. I said to use the TRANSITION tag… All it does is gives us the opportunity to match any offer Houston gets. Period. We wouldn’t be “on the hook” for even a penny. So… Again, I just can’t see any reasoning to not doing it….

        • saito8204

          Whoops… sorry, misread what you’d originally wrote. I don’t know why they aren’t moving on Houston other than the price tag he’s sure to command plus the fact, that he said he thought it was time to move on. Meaning, he wants out of Oakland. If he doesn’t want to be there, there really isn’t a lot of reason to pursue him.

          • Trevor

            I’ve never read anything where Houston said he WANTED to leave Oak. The only comments he’s stated was he felt that Oak wasn’t interested in him… He’s stated numerous times he wanted to be a cornerstone of the raiders. RM has came across as lacidasical to many players such as Veldheer AND houston… He hasn’t show any urgency in resigning our key FA’s . Jennings and Woodson being 2 other key players who’ve had no movement thus far… That is disappointing to me… Outside of that I do feel he’s done a decent job of managing talent with what he’s been given in oakland

          • saito8204

            There is an article I read a while ago, I don’t have it at my disposal at the moment, but he made a comment about it being “time to move on.” I don’t think he necessarily *wants* to move on but he wants to be paid like a top 5 player. He’s good but is he worth $10 million plus a year? I personally don’t think so… and given the lack of a contract, it doesn’t appear that RM thinks so either. Some team will be willing to over pay for him, but I don’t think that RM is going to be one of them. I do agree with you that there needs to be more urgency in negotiations with the FA’s we need to keep around. My understanding right now is that a contract has been offered to Veldheer but he’s “thinking about it” at the moment. I absolutely agree with you that they need to lock down Jennings. The pace of negotiations with a lot of players has been frustratingly slow– and sometimes you have to wonder what in the hell RM is doing. I get that he wants to be cautious and not make a move he’ll regret… but not making a move can also leave him with a lot of regrets as well. It’s going to be interesting.

          • Trevor

            You’re thinking of a comment he made following the last game of the season… He was actually misquoted. He was reffering to not feeling Oakland wanted him back. He was on the radio the next week saying he was really hoping to stay in oak but didn’t think it was likely do to initial talks. He’ll end up getting paid elsewhere and BLOWING UP even more than he already has. Also, looks like Veldheer is signing with the Cardinals… I had previously given rm the benefit of the doubt… But losing our ONLY 2 star players who should be building blocks is unbelievable. Why clear 65 mil in space then let the only talent you have walk while complaining about a “lack of talent”… I’ve lost all faith in Reggie with this one… Watch Veldheer will sign for less than what we pay for an older crappier tackle ala roger saffold… All because Reggie likes to play games and frustrate our core players

  • Stephen Wendt

    Is he worth $11 million per season though?

    • saito8204

      McKenzie thinks so. Unfortunately, the salaries in the league are just outrageous… so yeah, he’s worth the money that the market dictates he’s worth. If all six years are played out, it will average out to a little over $9 mil a season…

    • Trevor

      Absolutely he is… The LT position is one of the most important positions in all of football! Show me a young LT who’s better for less….

  • Steven

    I’m happy for this, but why didn’t they use the tag on Houston?

    • saito8204

      Probably because if they tagged Houston, they’d end up paying him $13 million for the season. That’s a lot of money for a guy who only piled up 6 sacks last season. By comparison, Jared Allen had 11.5, and they’d probably pay at or near the same for him. I tend to think McKenzie is looking to rebuild a more cost friendly defensive line full of maybe lesser known guys, but guys that can stop the run and get to the passer.

      • Steven

        You know, I never thought of that. Now that you mention that I guess it was good thing to avoid using the franchise tag altogether. Hopefully we see an aggressive front office next week!

        • saito8204

          It should be interesting to say the least. I am really curious to see how all of this is going to shake out.

      • Trevor

        Sack totals are VERY misleading tho! The talent around them dictates sack totals too much for it to be the sole stat you rate a DE’s worth/talent. Qb hurries is a much more relevant stat when it comes to individual performance. Houston just so happen to lead the league in QB hurries for 4-3 De’s. He also was the top rated 4-3 de against the run… Not too mention how very versatile AND “bullet proof” Houston is… He is extremely under rated in oak. IF he ends up on another team with ANY talent he will get double digit sacks. Write it down

        • saito8204

          They can be very misleading, absolutely agree. But while I think Houston is versatile and a very good player, I don’t think he’s a top-5 player in the league right now… which is what he wants to be paid like. I personally don’t believe that he’s worth $10+ million a season at this point… especially not if the team is going to make a run at say, a Tuck or Allen. I think it comes down to numbers in the end and Houston might not be willing to take less than what he feels he deserves… which is to be one of the highest paid players in the league.