ALAMEDA – Jared Veldheer’s contract is nearly up. The Raiders’ fourth-year left tackle will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but he might not hit the open market.
Veldheer said in a Monday interview with 95.7 FM that contract talks are active and ongoing and that he’s confident he’ll remain a Raider long-term.
“They’re in talks right now,” Veldheer said in an interview with John Lund and Greg Papa. “I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about finishing the year out and playing these last four games. I want to help this team as much as possible and to help turn that page and get going where we need to go.
“I believe that, if I handle that and play as well as I can play, good things will follow there. I’m really hoping and I’m pretty confident that I’ll continue to keep playing in Oakland.”
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hoped to extend Veldheer by now, but a major triceps injury tabled the original plan. Veldheer surgically repaired a partially torn left triceps on Aug. 17. He was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return a few weeks later, completed a thorough rehab and made his season debut on Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Raiders planned to ease him back into game action, but Veldheer played every snap in the Dallas loss. He was as good as ever, allowing just one quarterback hurry despite playing against seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware. He responded well to game action and considers his rehab complete.
Such an effort gives the Raiders confidence that they’d be retaining a top-tier offensive lineman. Veldheer’s camp wanted their offensive lineman to return and re-establish his value when healthy.
Veldheer plays a premium position, where annual salaries can reach eight digits. Veldheer’s numbers aren't expected to go that high, but he won’t come cheap. He’s regarded highly for his work, especially considering he played every NFL snap before the triceps injury. He’s relatively young, extremely competent and of high character, fitting the mold for who the Raiders want.
Veldheer wants to show well down the final stretch, when he’s expected to be a fixture at left tackle.
“I want to continue to improve my game and continue to get better,” Veldheer said during Monday’s open locker room session. “I want to win. I know these guys in here want the same thing. That’s our focus from here on out.”