Oakland Raiders star left tackle Jared Veldheer is arguably one of the top five impending free agents this offseason, and he is fully expected to hit the open market after frustratingly slow negotiations with the Raiders. I’m honestly surprised and disappointed that the Raiders, who boast copious cap space, haven’t re-signed Veldheer, as he is the best player on the team and clearly somebody they need to keep around. Rodger Saffold has been mentioned as the most likely replacement for Veldheer, who is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals with Branden Albert expected to sign a $10 million per year deal with the Miami Dolphins shortly after the start of free agency (Albert was previously viewed as the Cardinals top target, but Veldheer is the better player in my book).
In an interesting development, FOX Sports 910′s Mike Jurecki reports that Veldheer has fired his agent and will now be represented by his brother James. I’m not sure how this affects negotiations, but it could be a sign that the uber-talented left tackle is looking to sign elsewhere.
Veldheer is expected to sign for $7-7.5 million, and that’s a steal for the 26-year-old. He’s not quite as good as Eugene Monroe, but he’s close. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders can re-sign him before free agency hits, but it looks like he’s gone.