Of the expiring contacts that general manager Reggie McKenzie has to address as the Oakland Raiders prepare for the most drastic rebuild in franchise history, the biggest no brainer when it comes to bringing players back is left tackle Jarded Veldheer.
Veldheer came into the Raiders season as arguably their best offensive player, and his torn tricep injury was largely the contributing factor into the poor start to the team’s season in terms of pass protection for quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor, Matt Flynn, and Matt McGloin. When Veldheer did return, he performed to standard despite not being fully 100% healthy and played every snap. While the injury cooled contract extensions during the season, Veldheer told CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair that he is confident that a deal will be done.
“Going through an injury, that kind of thing kind of screws that stuff up,” Veldheer said. “I’m sure that (contract talks), now that there’s time, will start to heat up again. I definitely want to be a Raider for life.”
“I want to stay here. I don’t want to leave.”
That sentiment was echoed by Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who told Bair that during his final meeting with Veldheer he made it clear that despite an injury plague first half to the season negotiations will go as quickly as the tackle wants them to go.
“We’re in the process of trying to do that,” Allen said. “Nothing ever happens, and I told Jared that today when I met with him, as fast as you want it to in negotiations. Obviously, Jared has expressed that he wants to be here, we would like for Jared to be here. Hopefully we can get that done.”
Veldheer’s injury may save the Raiders some dollars when it comes to the cap, but not much as the left tackle is the Raiders most important piece on the offensive line currently and would find a place on many NFL rosters if he opted to go the free agency route. Based on the two sides mutual interest in getting a deal done as soon as possible, expect a new contract to be announced sooner than say, Lammar Houston who is likely to explore a potential larger payday before making a commitment to Oakland to stay long term. Nothing in football is a guarantee, especially when it comes to free agents, but for now it appears that Veldheer has the best intentions when it comes to sticking with the Raiders as they hope for a return to glory.