Left tackle Jared Veldheer wants to be a Raider. The franchise doesn’t want to let him go.
That’s a good sign a long-term agreement will be reached before the open market’s siren song can lure Veldheer away.
Both sides hoped to sign a contract extension during the season, but a partially torn left triceps slowed the process down. Veldheer wants to re-establish himself as a top-tier left tackle. The Raiders wanted to ensure he’d come back fully healthy.
Veldheer quelled concerns over the final six games. He played every snap and, while he wasn’t his dominant self at all times, Veldheer showed that a solid offseason will put him in line for even better play.
That should put the sides in line to strike a long-term deal.
“Going through an injury, that kind of thing kind of screws that stuff up,” Veldheer said. “I’m sure that (contract talks), now that there’s time, will start to heat up again. I definitely want to be a Raider for life.”
Veldheer would like to get business out of the way fast. He expressed that sentiment to head coach Dennis Allen during Monday’s individual exit meeting. Allen expressed what the front office has said privately for months. They want Veldheer anchoring their offensive line, and that bringing him back is a high priority.
“We’re in the process of trying to do that,” Allen said. “Nothing ever happens, and I told Jared that today when I met with him, as fast as you want it to in negotiations. Obviously, Jared has expressed that he wants to be here, we would like for Jared to be here. Hopefully we can get that done.”
The search is on to find a fair value for one of the highest-paid positions. Veldheer sits outside the top tier, but likely in the NFL’s top half. He’s entering the prime of his career, with the work ethic and character the Raiders are looking for. Those will bargaining chips for Veldheer’s camp, to counter the fact that he really wants to stay. Finding a fair value is Veldheer’s concern, and he’s confident it will happen.
“I feel good about that,” Veldheer said. “I want to stay here. I don’t want to leave.”