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Big decisions loom for Raiders as Franchise tag deadline is Monday

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Justin Edmonds

It's the first big deadline of the off-season. This is when teams must make their final decision on who gets the franchise tag. It also means many teams will be working feverishly to try and get a long term deal done if they hope to not place the tag on anyone.

The Raiders have two players to think about right now - left tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive end Lamarr Houston. The team would like to keep both and to do so could mean using the franchise or transition tag on one of them.

If the Raiders are to ensure they keep both players, their best bet would be to negotiate with both in the hopes of signing one of them to a long term deal while placing the tag on the other player. For Veldheer, the franchise tag is a very real possibility. For Houston, the transition tag makes more sense.

Free agency starts March 11 and if either or both Veldheer and Houston are not locked down, the Raiders run the risk of losing them. They have a lot of money to spend in free agency, though Reggie McKenzie has said he won't overspend.

If Veldheer leaves, suddenly the Raiders have a gaping hole at the critical left tackle position on top of their many other needs. If Houston leaves, the already pass rush deficient Raiders are left without a defensive end to speak of. Defensive end is already in desperate need. Without him, they would likely spend more money on an outside free agent as well as probably multiple draft picks.

Many Raiders fans have been waiting impatiently to hear any kind of news about these two top potential free agents. Well, today is the day. In this case, no news is not good news.