Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Free Agency: First Day Head Scratchers Shake Raider Nation

Just Blog Baby will be covering every minute of the 2014 NFL Free Agency frenzy this March. Check in daily for breaking news, analysis and predictions from the talented JBB team and new staff writers.


In a recent interview on CSN Bay Area, Raiders Insider Scott Bair stated “If they lose Houston, they (Raiders) almost have to keep Veldheer, or else it’s a PR nightmare”. Well… let the “Nightmare” begin.

Both Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer are off the “Pirate Ship” and headed to new teams respectively.

According to Adam Schefter, Houston signed a 5 year/35 million dollar deal with the Chicago Bears. Houston would effectively replace the recently released Julius Peppers and help improve the Bears woeful run defense. Houston figured to be a dynamic building block for a young Raiders Defense, but will now be chasing Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson in the NFC North.

The Jared Veldheer rumors were swirling early, and I had hoped they were just that. Unfortunately the rumors were true, and Jared Veldheer reunites with his former QB Carson Palmer in Arizona,signing a 5 year/35 million dollar deal according to Adam Schefter. Veldheer greatly improves a poor offensive line for the Cardinals, and gets to battle the tough pass rushers of the NFC West….good luck Jared.

In a real head scratcher, it appears Rashad Jennings will also leave Oakland after a stellar year and is set to sign with the New York Giants. While the deal is not finalized, all indications appear Jennings got a much better offer from the Giants. Jennings left a lasting impression on Raider Nation, filling in for an injured (again) Darren McFadden. But the value apparently was not there for Reggie McKenzie, who despite having the ability to out-bid anyone, choose to keep his check book closed.

Speaking of Darren McFadden…Guess who’s back? In another head scratcher Reggie McKenzie re-signed Darren McFadden to a 1 year/4 million dollar deal to remain with the Silver and Black. According to CSN Raiders Insider Scott Bair “The contract is reportedly worth $1.75 million with $2.25 million in incentives, which will be earned if he remains productive and healthy. Only $100,000 is guaranteed, meaning he must make it through training camp healthy for real money to kick in.” Which I guess is a good thing.

In my recent article “Just Say NO! 2014 Free Agents Oakland Raiders Need to Avoid” I listed McFadden as a Free Agent the Raiders should move on from, citing a need for a change and more carries for other backs. Apparently Reggie disagreed. This move reeks of Mark Davis, I do not see a McFadden resurrection in 2014.

Not all of Reggie’s moves were questionable, he did sign a very good player in Rodger Saffold from the St. Louis Rams. But the question amongst Raider Nation is, where does Saffold play? Does he replace Veldheer at left tackle? Saffold appeared to be more proficient at Guard last year. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Saffold’s signed a 5 year/42.5 million dollar contract with $21 million guaranteed. That doesn’t appear to be Guard money to me, especially given the fact Veldheer apparently receive less money from Arizona.

While it is still way too early to speculate, Day One of Free Agency left Raider Nation scratching their collective heads. Without all the “Insider Information” it is hard to judge these moves and solely criticize Reggie McKenzie. It just appears with a gluttony of cap money, Reggie may have let key players slip through the cracks. Only time will tell.


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Tags: Darren McFadden Jared Veldheer Lamarr Houston Oakland Raiders Rashad Jennings Reggie McKenzie

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