The Oakland Raiders have been criticized for losing Jared Veldheer as much as they’ve been criticized for their botched Rodger Saffold contract. But team GM Reggie McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur that Veldheer signing with the Arizona Cardinals in free agency wasn’t an issue of the Raiders not trying to retain him.
“Losing Veldheer was a blow to me,” McKenzie told Tafur. “He didn’t want to come back. It wasn’t about finances.”
Veldheer (pictured at far left), who was a third-round pick of the Raiders in 2010, signed a five-year, $35 million deal with the Cardinals, who went 10-6 last season.
“The kid didn’t want to play for the Raiders anymore, and I struggled with that.”
McKenzie also said that defensive lineman Lamarr Houston chose to sign with the Chicago Bears instead of staying in Oakland because he believed they were a better team.
When McKenzie said he “struggled with that,” he could have been talking about the franchise tag. The Raiders had the ability to retain Veldheer by franchise tagging him, but McKenzie may have decided it wasn’t worth it either for financial reasons, or because keeping someone who does not want to be on your team is unhealthy for the locker room.
Whatever the case, this is another embarrassing sign for the Raiders and their fans and another reason why they need to turn it around.