For those of you "He wanted out, f--k him!" people, you won't be pleased to know the Veldheer didn't want out. That was never the deal with him. He said many times he wanted to be a Raider long term and even went on the Radio to vent his frustrations publicly. The thing is, the Raiders didn't want him.
"This is a place I want to be at for the rest of my career if I could," Veldheer said last month. "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."
As reported by Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, the Raiders offered Veldheer a low ball 5-year, $30 million deal with just $10 million guaranteed. It is not surprising he signed with the Cardinals on a 5-year, $35 million contract with $17 million guaranteed.
This is the exact same thing they did with Carson Palmer last off-season. They offered him an insulting contract, knowing he wouldn't accept it, so he and his agent arranged a deal with the Cardinals to facilitate a trade. The only difference here is Palmer was traded for peanuts -- Veldheer left for nothing. Well, to be more accurate, he left for negative gain.
The Raiders replaced Veldheer with free agent Rodger Saffold. And while they offered Veldheer yeoman's wages, they shelled out big money for Saffold. The 4-year, oft-injured tackle's contract didn't just trump Veldheer's, it trumps nearly all 2014 free agent tackles.
Branden Albert - 5-year, $46 million
Rodger Saffold - 5-year, $42.5 million
Eugene Monroe - 5-year, $37.5 million
Jared Veldheer - 5-year, $35 million
Saffold has missed 17 games in four seasons and has played a full season just once. Veldheer hadn't missed a game prior to last season and had started 42-straight games.
It's a bizarre move that could seriously backfire on Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders. Teams are built through the draft and keeping their own good players. Veldheer was both of those things and the Raiders tossed him out like trash and paid a lesser player more money.