Arguably the top priority (allegedly) of Reggie McKenzie, left tackle Jared Veldheer has reportedly reached an agreement to join the Arizona Cardinals. According to Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $35 million over five years.
Veldheer was drafted by Oakland out of Hillsdale college in 2010 with a third-round pick, and was projected as a guy with loads of size and potential. Over the next three seasons, Veldheer would play in every game and began to establish himself as an excellent left tackle.
Unfortunately, while many expected a breakout season in 2013, Veldheer missed 11 games with a triceps injury, leading to lots of uncertainty about his future with the franchise. As it went, Oakland has reportedly decided to go in a different direction for the future, signing former Rams lineman Roger Saffold to (presumably) replace Veldheer.
As news of the signing broke to the public, Veldheer also took to Twitter to share his own thoughts:
Thank you #raidernation for 4 great years. You guys are awesome. I was blessed that Mr. Davis brought me into your community.— Jared Veldheer (@Veldheer68) March 11, 2014
Also I'd like to thank all of my coaches, trainers, and equipment staff for all they did for me the last 4 years.— Jared Veldheer (@Veldheer68) March 11, 2014
A special thanks to DA and coach Sparano. I appreciate everything you've done and taught me.— Jared Veldheer (@Veldheer68) March 11, 2014
Update: as there usually are on Twitter, there are conflicting reports on what actually went down that led Veldheer to leave for less money than Oakland paid Saffold.
Veldheer's mom claims that her son wasn't offered anything close to what Saffold got:
@MichaelZipser sorry mike. We will miss Oakland. I don't think RM really wanted him back. The offer was nowhere near the Saffold deal.— mary veldheer (@mommagolfer) March 11, 2014
On the flip side, CSN Bay Area's Fallon Smith seemed to indicate that Veldheer's move might have had more to do with his disappointment in not being awarded the franchise tag:
@CorkOnTheNFL I was told he wanted that franchise tag... When he didn't get it, he threw up the deuces!— Fallon Smith (@FallonSmithCSN) March 11, 2014