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

  • Brian Huth

    May have let players slip through the cracks??? I don’t even know how to respond to the moves they made today. What the hell were they thinking???

  • Silvia Arredondo

    I was upset! I can’t believe Veldeer decided to leave! From what I hear that was on his part because McKenzie did offer him 5 years 50mills! Why did he decide to leave?? And I don’t want to hear that cleaning house BS and that McKenzie doesn’t want any of Al’s picks because if that was the case Pryor would be way gone and Mcfadden too! What the hell! I can’t believe he couldn’t pay some lousy 30 mills for both Houston and Jennings when Mckenzie clearly had alot of spending money! I’m disappointed already!

  • Pridenpoise

    To early to criticize, I think not Reggie not stepping up to pay Jared is beyond stupid, Saffold is not better than Veldheer yet Reggie payed him more than what Jared was offered. Reggie is a tool, I’ve said it since day1 and I will say till the day he’s fired, which probably won’t be that far off after butchering Day 1.

  • Pridenpoise

    Reggie low balled Jared, it was no where near 50 million, it was less than what they gave Saffold.

  • Chris Schroeder

    Sit back, relax, and watch Reggie go to work. If teams want to throw money around on Day 1 let them. The patience will prevail. Still a lot of move being made and they have cards up their
    sleeves. It will be a fun off season, just wait.

  • Luis Hernandez

    60 million in cap space and RM refuses to retain Veldheer, Houston and now Jennings! Were losing more talent then we are bring onto the roster! I’m seeing all these other teams landing big name FA, and where’s Oakland? Giving away our FA like it’s a freaking garage sale!! Unbelievable! This was supposed to be the offseason we have been working for the past 2 years, and all we have to show for it is Saffold? And to top it off, resigning MCFADDEN?? Really dude?! These moves, or lack of, make me sick. What’s the use of having so much freaking money if you don’t do anything with it?! It’s one thing to be conservative, but this is just stupid. Letting our top 3 FA walk is just plain stupid. I really hope that tomorrow holds some type of magic to make up for the disappointment that was today.

  • tdanielly

    You guys have no idea what you’re talking about. Veldheer was offered more money to stay but left not Reggie’s fault. Chicago overpaid for Houston so he can go. Last I checked there are 10-12 quality tackles/guards available in the draft.

  • tdanielly

    Ok McFadden was a 1 year 1.75 million deal, there rest is incentive based on performance with 100,000 guaranteed

  • PK

    Don’t care what is said veldeer should still be a raider

  • Alex Mendoza

    Couldn’t we have Franchise Tagged one of them? Why didn’t McKenzie use that again?

  • Mark Shafer

    What really hurts is both Veldheer and Houston were favorites of Raider Nation. As much as I would like to bash Reggie for it I think it is to early for that. After all if he fucks up this he is done!
    He did a great job retooling the defense last year, which stayed competitive for half the season. He better pull some rabbits out of his hat!

  • Rodney Martin

    Come on guys. All the talk about Veldeer is unfounded. We haven’t had him since 2012. He played five insignificant games at the end of the season. Saffold did have a better year than Veldeer. Numbers don’t lie. Houston, however, may be difficult to replace. The D-line seems non-existent now. McFadden is a decent move with little risk. Jennings can be replaced easily. We never were going after the big fish. Let Tampa, Miami, Chicago, and everyone else fight so we can take the $3 to 4 Million players and create depth and something real to build on.

  • Angel

    Dude. I feel a lot better after reading this. I hope you’re right bruh. I really do. Just feeling the cool, calm and collectiveness of this post rather than the freaking out exclamations of others, cooled me down. Reggie needs to know that our loyalty goes so far. I’m hoping he does something to excite us.

  • Pridenpoise

    It’s you that has no idea what their talking about, so I will spell it out for you, 5yrs 30 million 10 million guaranteed, does that sound like more than what he got from the Cardinals, do your homework before you lip off and look stupid doing it.

  • Arty G

    They better do something because this is fucking disgusting!!!!!

  • KloverJane

    I’ve watched him go to work an not make bold upgrades. I have no idea about Saffold. Other than what I read on several articles and NFL NETWORK coverage. No one has said this oft injured player is better at protecting the blind side. I’ve been loyal to this team since i was 10.
    I will continue to be. But the only person on the team that wants what I and several others do is Marcel Reece. We need some action. A statement that says we are here to kick ass. Not the passive Kumbaya approach.

  • KloverJane

    Which means they should’ve paid Veldeer.

  • KloverJane

    Damn right it is. And I’m tired of people questioning my Raider loyalty about it. I want to see some action tomorrow. Prepare for wrath otherwise.

  • KloverJane

    We must be cursed. What happened? Can we not get the right guys to win? What a travesty.

  • KloverJane

    And the QBs ran for their lives all year without him. He was a cornerstone in an offensive system he knew. Now we’re back to zero at another position. Shall we talk about DE? I digress. I hope Reggie is right. I’ve been his advocate til this debacle. I hope your perspective is right on…

  • KloverJane

    I’m with you Mark. He better pull some David Copperfield act before the draft or its curtain call.

  • KloverJane


  • Chris Schroeder

    They just signed RT Austin Howard. He’s a big dude and one of the top right tackles in free agency. See things are looking up. Theyre shoring up the offensive line just as I expected they would early in free agency. Remember this is still day one

  • KloverJane

    Who knows….that’s the 35 million dollar question.

  • Rob Banks

    Houston was not worth the money he got paid in Chicago; he’s just not an elite pass rusher.

    And anyone who wanted Jennings could have signed him previous to the Raiders signing him. Problem is, he was considered washed up; no one wanted him. That’s why he was a third string back up on our depth chart and if not for the expected McFadden injuries, he’d probably still be there. Not undervaluing him (he definitely picked up his game), just trying to put things into perspective. There are other potential R. Jennings out there. BTW, welcome back Bush!

    Losing Veldheer seems bad right now and I have to agree with those who feel the same way, but I had a feeling he was going to be moved on the line, anyway. He started off hot his rookie season, then regressed. Then, last season, he suffered an injury (torn tri) that, depending on how bad the tear was, can limit arm strength in that area. Still, Veldheer was not an elite LT. I like him a lot and wish they held on to him but I think Watson played better at that position given his limited experience.

    If this should tell you anything, I think it’s safe to say, now, that the Raiders, wont be taking a QB in the first round. Thank goodness!

  • Raider Grant

    No excuses right? Three strikes & your out! Supposes to keeps what’s good & add more talent, not walk backwards? Tired of hearing the glass being half full when in reality the glass Is empty.

  • KloverJane

    I’ll buy that Chris however I just read this….
    After shelling out $42.5 million for injury-prone left tackle Rodger Saffold, McKenzie is overpaying for the No. 81 player on Around The League’s free-agent tracker.

    A liability early in his Jets career, Howard worked hard to develop into a quality pass protector in 2013. He and Saffold will provide league-average security on the bookends of the offensive line at a high price.

    The media thinks we blundered as usual. Who knows?.?.?.

  • Eye Patch

    You are exactly right Marcel is the only one who wants to change things here in Oak. He is the team leader by far and my favorite player on the team. Reggie has only hurt this team so far and that’s a fact. We were an 8-8 team before McKinzie and now we are a 4-12 team and this year there is a real possibility the raiders may not win one game with the scrubs Reggie is bringing in. Our 2 best players are gone and noone wants to play in Oak, so Reggie will be fired after this season for fucking everything up!! Until he shows me something that tells me hes doing a good job I’m just not going to trust him at all, I mean look what hes doing…….It’s FUCKING RIDICULOUS!!!

  • KloverJane

    I knew I wasn’t the only one lol
    I also was one of Reggies biggest advocates until today’s debacle. It’s only day one but other teams have done way more signings of well-known players. We have lost 3.
    We look bad. And I’m tired of defending myself to Raider Haters. You know what I’m saying?

  • Douglas Briggs

    I think we just need to wait and see, it’s only day one of free agency. We’ve waited 2 years through cap hell, what’s another few days to evaluate what Big Reg has up his sleeve? I trust he knows what he is doing and from what I’ve read Veldheer and Houston were offered more than what they signed for but simply didn’t want to be a part of Raider Nation anymore.

  • Eye Patch

    They blundered big time!! I watch an analyze the raiders every game and it doesn’t take a genius to know that our OL is just terrible, and Reggie doesn’t even resign our best offensive player, that’s just ignorant as hell. that tells me he really doesn’t care what happens, to add more about him not caring, he keeps signing worse players than Valdheer. WE ARE SUPPOSE TO UPGRADE NOT DOWNGRADE!!! Reggie and Davis even said in an interviewe Raiders would upgrade in several positions and he straight lied to all raider nation!! He basically Slapped Every Raider Fan in the face by not resigning Valdheer!! This is just ignorant not to resign our best OL.

  • KloverJane

    This is what they say on national TV about us from the NFL Network…..speaking of all tackles they stated:

    Veldheer was my favorite value of the bunch, upgrading an awful left tackle situation in Arizona. Saffold looked like the most overpaid player in all of free agency by Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. That was until the Raiders gave New York Jets tackle Austin Howard $15 million . On a $30 million contract after midnight.

    Now how does Raider Nation react to this? Should we all just hold hands and sing Kumbaya in cooperative bliss?
    NO MORE MEDIOCRITY! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eye Patch

    Yep I know exactly what you are saying, but it’s the truth that he isn’t doing all he should or could do and that’s a fact. So this year we downgraded the OL because who is there to sign that is better then Valdheer, noone, and our OL sucked to begin with, except for Wiz and Valdheer, and now we just got worse and we have $64 million to spend which makes no dam sense at all, LITERALLY!!!! Am I missing something???

  • Eye Patch

    Howard still isn’t as good as Valdheer. Valdheer is a straight beast out there, he handled everyone who he came across except a couple downs against Demarcus Ware. Im just still trying to figure out why we didnt resign him it just makes no sense at all.

  • Eye Patch

    It doesn’t matter how much money the Raiders have because noone good wants to come to Oakland, it’s just facts, and this is what i was afraid of. Now our best players all want to leave so what does that tell you, something in the front office isn’t right.

  • KloverJane

    Losing Veldeer was the worst news. It’s bad. I don’t think I will truly get over the fact that, that offensive line is nothing without Veldeer. Absolutely nothing. And the first sack (of unknown QB pawn) I see from the blindside, I will continue to remind them of aforementioned loss. The Autumn wind cometh…

  • zeiger82

    overspending for big names and average players is what got us into the last 10 years, calm down and look at the budget players that he found last year with no money prove it contracts. RM is not stupid hes looking outside the box for the best bang for the buck (jennings, porter, woodson, roach, etc.). i believe in RM, and cant wait to see our team after the draft.

  • KloverJane

    I know. Other teams have paid for star players today. And we look like peasants listening to a Charlatan selling us snake oil. For two years. That shit is bunk.

  • Eye Patch

    Yep i feel the same way. You can’t stick up for a GM that is constantly doing the wrong things or doing nothing at all.. I mean he took this team from an 8-8 team two yrs in a row to the laughing stock of the NFL at 4-12 and now he’s actually downgrading the team again. He’s so ignorant it’s not even funny. I know, i know more about this Raider team then he does, i analyze every Raider game and what happens and why it happened and I know he doesn’t have a clue, I mean it’s clear as day he’s not very smart.

  • Eye Patch

    I will give it to you for staying positive when it is hard to be, but Jennings was a beast for us when he was called upon. I think that McKinzie is in love with himself, that’s why he fired Hue Jackson after we went 8-8 (which makes no sense) and i think he had to much pride to put the franchise tag on one of them. Hue was a good coach, look at us now and the coaches we have it’s ridiculous!! You know whats going to happen right???? After this season Reggie will be fired and JON GRUDEN WILL BE THE NEXT GM!!!! i can dream right???

  • Demarkus Tramail Swan

    You ears a damned LIE FIR THAT BLOATED GINGER HOSED HULK WITH A 5 yr 30ML offer with only 10ML GTD!! That’s BS!!!

  • Ervin Barrentine

    Jared turned us down we offered him 55+ million and he walked I love what we are doing. Stay tuned Raider Nation

  • Raiders4life!

    You guys are all overreacting!!! If you really look at things RM tried resigning veldheer and his idiotic brother (agent) didnt want him to sign in oakland because the raiders knew he was worth the 10-11 mil franchise tag. Furthermore, yes houston was good but at only 4-5 sacks last year was he really worth what he got? Or was he just “good” because the D as a whole sucked? I can recall last year when everyone was freaking out about losing wheeler and bryant, still upset about that?!? I think not!!

  • Raider Grant

    At some point Raiders must REBUILD. How is that possible when we are downgrading personnel every year? Bargin shopping for players is not the answer, either is trusting in McKenzie to bring in adequate talent. McKenzie has failed in two off seasons & drafts, so trusting him further is just stupidity. Mckenzie needs to stop picking up personnel who are injury prone as well. WTF? McKenzie’s gut tells us two things: 1) he needs to diet, 2) he gut instincts are bad decisions. He should of, could of, would of, but didn’t. Much props for Raider Nation family members keeping the faith, I just don’t see the logic in recent moves made. Go Raider!

  • Eye Patch

    Actually It was Reggies fault that Valdheer left. It was reported that Valdheers mom said that McKinzie and Valdheer didn’t get along and also Reggie treated both of her sons terrible. I heard that on CSN last night. Like i said before, that power is going to Reggies head and the funny thing about it is he’s one of the worst GM’s I’ve seen on any team, I mean just look at the move’s he is and isn’t making and that’s all you need to know about him. He’s garbage. Jon Gruden will be the Raider’s GM next yr anyways so Reggie will be on the way out. I’m hoping atleast.