Relax Raider Nation, hope is not lost….our young cornerstones of Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston may test the market, but it does not mean they’re lost. With 7 days remaining until Free Agency, Reggie McKenzie opted out of utilizing the Franchise Tag on either Lamarr Houston or Jared Veldheer, and will hopefully be working overtime to get both signed this week.
In my eyes this was a very smart move. Although other teams can not negotiate contracts with Houston and Veldheer, you better believe their agents phones are ringing off the hook. This will allow agents and players to gauge their value, and help all parties when negotiating a contract. Slapping the Franchise Tag on either player would mean overpaying, and overpaying is not something Reggie is fond of.
Jared and Lamarr both play premium positions at Defensive End and Left Tackle respectively. Either way they are going to get paid, but how much is the question. Both players are in the prime of their careers and in my opinion are top ten players at their positions when healthy.
According to overthecap. com, “Ryan Clady signed a five-year contract worth $52,500,000 with the Broncos on July 15, 2013. Clady received a $3 million signing bonus and $10.5 million roster bonus in 2013 to go along with a fully guaranteed $1.5 million base salary, making the full guarantee worth a total of $15 million.”
This could be comparable to what Jared Veldheer is looking for, especially with the increase in cap space this year.
As for Lamarr Houston we can look at the contract Carlos Dunlap received last year. NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported last year “the Bengals signed Carlos Dunlap to a six-year, $40 million contract. He is set to earn $20 million over the next two seasons. Another $4.5 million is available in incentives…”
Houston is a much more proven commodity than Dunlap when he was signed, although not nearly the pass rusher. Time will tell whether Houston’s value leads to an increase in salary over the Dunalp deal.
I would hope Reggie is working diligently this week to secure two premium talents, playing at two premium positions. With all the needs on this team, trying to replace your starting Left Tackle and Defensive End is a losing strategy.
Reggie’s job is to build this team by finding top talent in the draft and free agency. But his job also includes keeping top talent already on the team, which is just as important.