Jared Veldheer: 'More urgency' needed from Raiders on contract talks

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Left tackle Jared Veldheer will hit the open market at the start of the new league year if the Oakland Raiders can't get him signed to a long-term contract.

Oakland Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer would "like to see a little more urgency" from the team regarding a new contract. That quote comes from Veldheer himself while appearing on 95.7 FM The Game. Veldheer is set to hit the open market when the new league year begins.

Veldheer has expressed his desire to remain with the Raiders in the past, saying before that he "really wants to stay in Oakland." The Raiders have been talking to Veldheer for awhile now, but it sounds as though there has been little progress on a long-term contract, which both sides are presumably after.

There's definitely multiple factors going into a potential extension -- or lack thereof -- for Veldheer. On one hand, you have the nature of the Raiders over the past few seasons. Oakland has seen multiple changes to its front office and coaching staff, and the overall mission statement has been to purge lengthy and bloated contracts from the books.

So are the Raiders still hesitant to start locking people up for multi-year contracts, or is this about the speed they expected to go?

Well, Veldheer isn't a slam-dunk left tackle, for one. He's been solid enough, but this past season he missed 11 games after sustaining a torn tricep prior to the season opener. He returned late in the season and clearly struggled. Oakland actually played better when Veldheer came back, and allowed fewer sacks, but it's unclear if that was due to Veldheer's prowess or if that's just how things shook up.

Either way, the Raiders gave up six sacks over the final five games of the season, but surrendered 39 over the first 11 games of the season. Veldheer graded out poorly via Pro Football Focus. That's obviously not the be-all, end-all, but it's certainly worth noting.

At the very least, Veldheer is solid and will get a multi-year contract somewhere if not with the Raiders. But Veldheer isn't the top left tackle on the market by any means. In fact, there's quite a few names that should be above him this offseason. It's possible that the Raiders are taking a wait-and-see approach, depending on the kind of money that Veldheer is after.

If Veldheer wants a big deal, the Raiders may be interested in letting him test the market. That market will be absorbed in some of the bigger names, such as Branden Albert (Chiefs), Jordan Gross (Panthers), Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher (Ravens), Rodger Saffold (Rams) and Jason Fox (Lions). Not all of these players will actually hit the open market, but all of them are in-line to earn bigger contracts than Veldheer.

Regardless, Veldheer will be getting a pay raise. He earned, on average, $882,000 per season on his previous contract. For reference, someone like Gross is making $5.5 million per season on average. Veldheer won't get those numbers, but on a multi-year deal, he'll be looking to earn a healthy raise.

Oakland has a ton of cap space and 24 players on expiring contracts. Most of those players are depth players, though. Looking over the list, it seems like Veldheer should be the top priority, but with all of this cap space and a team well out of the playoff race, the Raiders are definitely going to play it as cool as possible. Overpaying now could start another cycle of terrible contracts and salary cap troubles.

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