According to a report, talks are ongoing between the Oakland Raiders and free-agent-to-be Jared Veldheer.
The Raiders opted not to use the franchise tag on Veldheer, the 26-year-old left tackle who was limited to just five games this season due to injury.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, via Twitter:
Update on #Raiders & Jared Veldheer: He’s going to take his decision into the weekend, weigh his options and the market. Nothing imminent.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2014
Veldheer is considered one of the top free agents available when the new league year begins on Tuesday and the Raiders are looking at Veldheer as a potential foundation piece as they switch their emphasis from freeing up space under the salary cap to the point where the franchise finds itself now, with oodles of cap space and a desire to start winning.
Veldheer was a third-round pick out of Division II Hillsdale in 2010—the first player drafted from Hillsdale in 30 years—and he is considered by some to be the next elite player at left tackle in the NFL. He is already considered an elite pass blocker and is also a solid earth mover in the ground game.
Losing Veldheer via free agency would be a huge disappointment for the Raiders as they transition from rebuilding to just building, as he is a still-young player that they have spent four years developing into a potential franchise cornerstone.
For the Raiders to move forward, the goal needs to be adding more players of Veldheer’s caliber, not watching them leave for another team via free agency.