Jason Peters the starting Left Tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles recently signed a contract extension for five years for $48.3 million. The deal contains $19.55 million guaranteed and a $5 million signing bonus, first-year roster bonus of $5 million, and each of Peters' first two base salaries. Another $3 million is available through Pro Bowl escalators. Peters is eligible for annual $500,000 per-game roster bonuses and $250,000 workout bonuses in years two through five. 2014: $1.75 million, 2015: $6.8 million, 2016: $7.55 million, 2017: $11.2 million, 2018: $10 million, 2019: Free Agent
Now let's compare the two. I'll start with size and statistics.
JASON PETERS: 6'4", 328 pounds. Currently 32 years old and has played for 11 seasons. He has started 113 of his 123 games he has played in and is also a 6 time Pro Bowler. Last year he was hurt a majority of the season with a finger fracture/dislocation. He taped his fingers together and toughed it out. He reportedly was also battering shoulder, quad and pectoral issues yet still started every game last season. In 2012 he tore his Achilles' tendon in March while working out and had to miss the entire season. In 2013 he was considered the anchor to an offensive line that paved the way for the NFL rushing leader Lesean McCoy. McCoy rushed 314 times for 1,607 yards and 9 TDS rushing. Now let's keep in mind that Peters was out for all of 2012 and McCoy only rushed 200 times for 840 yards and 2 TDS rushing. Jason Peters is a savvy veteran who has earned his contract extension by being a road grader for his running backs and toughness playing through injury throughout his career.
JARED VELDHEER: 6'8 321 pounds. Currently 26 years old and has played for 5 years. He has started 48 of his 53 games he has played in and has never been selected to the Pro Bowl. Much like Jason Peters 2012 season he suffered a major setback due to injury. He tore his tricep muscle in one of the pre season games last season. He did not know it was torn and played in one more game the following week. After that injury it became a guessing game if and when he would return. He was finally placed on injured reserve/designated to return. He came back and played the final 5 games of the season. His play was okay, and was showing how rusty he was due to being out for so long. With how poor the team had been playing up to that point, he could have chosen to sit out the entire season and heal up for free agency next season. He came back and played as soon as he was able to. His return reignited the Raider Nation fan base that we were getting our best offensive lineman back. Everyone was saying that with his return our overall play would improve. Coincidently when he returned much of our offensive line was slowly returning back from injuries.
In 16 games in 2010 he had 15 penalties for 110 yards. He also had 8 false starts, 5 holding calls and allowed 7.5 sacks. In 16 games in 2011 he had 10 penalties for 85 yards. He improved to 2 false starts, 7 holding calls and 4 sacks. In 16 games in 2012 he improved vastly! He only had 6 penalties for 50 yards. He had 2 false starts, 3 holding calls and only gave up 4 sacks again. His play has improved every season he has been in the league with the exception of last season where he was out for the majority of the season and when he did return was rusty due to lack of physical and mental reps.
As much as I would love to lock up Jared Veldheer to a long term contract and have him retire a Raider, it just may not be feasible for the amount of money he may be asking. Yes, Jason peters is a lot older than Veldheer but he has proven to be a consistent player his entire career. At the same time Veldheer has improved every season. I would expect Veldheer to be asking for slightly more than what Jason Peters got due to this being Peters second large contract and his final major contract. Veldheer will sign this large contract and if his play keeps getting better he will command one more large contract. I think the Left Tackle position is the second most important position on offense, so I would sign Veldheer to a contract of one of the most recent top ten Left Tackles. He will be the anchor to our offensive line and as soon as we find a legit left guard our offensive line will become a strong point for our team. With Veldheers age and the lack of talent available in free agency, I believe a lot of teams will be after him or will turn it into a bidding war. If it turns to that I don't think Reggie will over pay.
now let's take a look at the top 5 highest salaries according to overthecap.com for the left tackle position and try to see where Veldheer will fall...
JOE THOMAS: $80.5 million total. $28.5 million guaranteed and $11.5 million APY. (Top LT this would be the ceiling)
RYAN CLADY: $52.5 million total. $15 million guaranteed and $10.5 million APY. (Was the top LT in 2012, allowed only 1 sack. Started every game his first 5 seasons. 3 pro bowls and an ALL-PRO. Didn't give up a sack his first 20 starts. Closer to Veldheers age seasons played but I don't see Veldheer getting anything too close to this)
TRENT WILLIAMS: $60 million total. $18.879 million guaranteed and $10 million APY. (2 time Pro bowler. Offensive co-captain. Large contract due to being #4 overall selection when large contracts were handed out to rookies. May not be what he is really worth. He is still a good offensive tackle regardless.)
D'brickashaw Ferguson: $60 million total. $9,222.500 million guaranteed and $10 million APY. (3 time pro bowler. Started all 128 games he has ever played in. Large contract also given on his first contract upon entering the NFL out of the draft. Still don't think Veldheer will get this much.)
DUANE BROWN: $53.4 million total. $22,081.500 guaranteed and $8.9 million APY. (2 time pro bowler. 1st team ALL-PRO and 2nd team ALL-PRO. He has started all 90 games he has played in. In 2011 he did not give up a single sack and did not commit one holding penalty, well at least was never called for one. He is still young and considered one of the top Left tackles in football. Much like Veldheer his large contract was given to him after his rookie deal expired.)
Now I can see Duane Brown's as the closest contract to what Veldheer will command on the open market. I don't think he will get quite as much but very similar. In the $48-50 million total range. With maybe $15-18 million guaranteed and $6-7 million per season. Remember a player is worth, what someone is willing to pay for them. Some owner could say, "You know what I want Jared Veldheer and will pay whatever it takes to sign him." With that being said, Veldheer being a top young Left Tackle in a weak free agency pool could command way more than what the Raiders want to pay him. This could be the reason why Reggie let him hit the open market. To see if he is worth what he is asking for. I just hope this doesn't back fire in our faces. Hopefully we get him locked up to a long term contract before March 8th when teams are allowed to make contact with players.