Today is the first day in which NFL teams are allowed to slap the franchise tag on their players. It is the start of a two week window in which to do it, ending on March 3.
For some teams, the franchise tag becomes their only option in hoping to retain their best players. Most players are not happy about the idea of being denied free agency in favor of a one-year deal, even if it is a pretty lucrative deal.
For the Raiders, that player is Jared Veldheer. He recently took to the airwaves to make it clear he did not want to be slapped with the franchise tag and wasn't pleased with what he viewed as a lack of urgency in re-signing him long term.
"This is a place I want to be at for the rest of my career if I could," Veldheer told Bay Area radio station, 95.7 The Game. "It's tough when that kind of stuff (being given the franchise tag) happens. It's different because it goes against everything that's been said about how ‘we want to make you a cornerstone of the team, build around you.' you know, it doesn't really back up any words with the right actions."
The franchise tag figure for Veldheer would be a hefty raise. The former third round pick made an average of about $875,000 per season his first four years in the league - a total contract of $3.5 million. If he were given the franchise tag, he would make over $11 million this season alone.
While $11 million guaranteed over one season has to look good, he wants that same long term security most every NFL player wants. And if he were to hit the open market, there are plenty of NFL teams who would be lining up to give it to him.
The only other potential free agent who the team could even consider for the franchise tag is defensive end, Lamarr Houston. His figure would be steeper than Veldheer's at an estimated $12.6 million price tag. And while the Raiders have said they have every intention of bringing him back, the franchise tag figure is far too rich for his services.
As for Veldheer, I expect the Raiders will reach a long term deal with him. But if that can't happen by March 3, they could very well place the franchise tag on him until that deal could be reached. That way they ensure he doesn't hit free agency. They would remove the tag once the new deal was complete.
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