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Jared Veldheer wants to be a Raider. The top-tier left tackle has said so several times and wants to ensure that prospect with a long-term contract.
The Raiders haven’t given him one. Not yet, anyway.
NFL free agency doesn’t open until March 11, but Veldheer wants a deal done. The team has promised he’ll be a cornerstone of their rebuilding project. Veldheer wants to come back, and he wants security now.
The sides still haven’t agreed on terms, which troubles an offensive lineman who ranks among the team’s best players.
“I’m staying patient, but a little bit of urgency from the other side would be nice,” Veldheer said Monday in an interview with 95.7 FM in San Francisco. “But I’m doing my best to stay optimistic and things should take care of themselves here in the end.”
The sides have talked several times during the season and after, but an accord is not imminent. A contract extension was discussed in the 2013 preseason, but a partially torn triceps postponed proceedings until now. Veldheer played most every snap before a training-camp injury kept him out of the first 11 games.
The Raiders have more than $60 million in salary cap space and Veldheer has been assured that he ranks among the team’s highest priorities. The team isn’t concerned about losing Veldheer, but the offensive lineman wants a new contract soon rather than later.
Head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie have publicly stated that they hope Veldheer can be retained for the long term. The wait, Veldheer says, is getting long.
“It’s tough when that kind of stuff happens, because it goes against everything that’s been said about being a cornerstone of the team that (they’re) going to build around,” Veldheer said. “It doesn’t back up those words with the right action.”
Veldheer said that negotiations haven’t gone sour, but they are a bit stale.
“Right now it’s kind of, not at a stand still, but there’s not a lot happening,” Veldheer said. “I think that we need to move things on a little quicker. There isn’t enough urgency, to put it in a football term.”
McKenzie has a franchise tag at his disposal, but he said he’d prefer not to use it.
Veldheer doesn’t want that either. He hopes a long-term deal is finalized in the near future.
“I’m hoping that some kind of deal happens here soon,” Veldheer said. “I’ve expressed many times that I want to stay here. I love my teammates. I love the coaches, and I really feel like this is the place for me. I’d like to have some urgency and move this along so it doesn’t creep up to that date where something has to happen that’s not in the long term.”