Jared Veldheer is an anchor. His presence at left tackle easily puts him in the top 10 in the league at the position. Suffering a partial triceps tear in the early stages of training camp kept him sidelined for 11 games this season, during which time a carousel of players were featured on the left side of the line. Using Khalif Barnes and Lucas Nix at tackle and guard, respectively, yielded very little protection for an already unstable quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, forcing him to run and try to make something out of nothing in regards to the play.
Everything the Raiders organization has been telling Veldheer is that they want him to be “a cornerstone of the team that they can build around.” The lack of urgency on their part to extend his contract is somewhat disconcerting to the 6-foot-8, 321-pound tackle. Veldheer has stated on many occasions that he wants nothing more than to stay a Raider for life and finish his career in the Silver and Black.
So this has Veldheer and the Raider Nation asking, “What’s the hold up?”
With the front office telling Veldheer that he will be a cornerstone for the team to build around, one would think that they would want to lock his contract down and keep him in their uniform. The lack of urgency, as Veldheer puts it, is concerning because their “actions aren’t backing up their talk.”
With each day that passes, it allows Veldheer to contemplate the free-agency market, where he could potentially command a hefty salary. The Raiders would be foolish to let this man walk out their front door, considering his size and proficiency at the position. There are many teams who would leap at the chance to have Veldheer on their roster, but the problem is, he doesn’t want to go anywhere elese. He wants to keep wearing the Silver and Black on Sundays, saying “I love my teammates. I love the coaches, and I really feel like this is the place for me.” Veldheer’s willingness to stay in Oakland isn’t something that the Raiders front office should take lightly. Its not often that a player of his caliber wants to stay where he is at and not go searching for the almighty dollar.
Veldheer is trying to stay patient and optimistic, but that can only hold someone for so long. He realizes that even if he is slapped with the Franchise Tag, which would equate to a roughly $11 million payday, Veldheer would rather have the security of a long term deal to shore up his spot on the Raiders front line and potentially throughout the rest of his NFL career. Reggie McKenzie has already said that he would prefer not to use the franchise tag and lock down his players for the long haul. With Veldheer wanting a long term deal and McKenzie not wanting to use the tag, there should be some more interest in trying to get his name on a new contract.
The closer the deadline approaches, the more restless Veldheer gets about his chances of staying in Oakland. The best course of action would be for the front office in Oakland to stop dragging their feet and sign this hulk of a tackle and keep him happy. Don’t make him angry, you won’t like him when he’s angry…..