Veldheer Likely to See Franchise Tag

As the franchise tag window is now open for business – running through the second half of February – we are likely to find out shortly the status of Jared Veldheer. The key question is will he sign the long-term deal he is reportedly looking for, or will we tag him, or indeed will Veldheer test free agency. Personally I hope he signs a long term deal, but I doubt it will happen, instead I think he’ll get the dreaded tag.

The problem with Veldheer is that essentially he is a very good LT, but I don’t think he is yet elite. Unfortunately he will probably demand elite money in a long-term deal, which we would be foolish to offer. True if we franchise tag him we also have to pay top-dollar, but its then only for one year, hence we get more time to properly assess.

Two positives exist, from a Raiders perspective, on Veldheer:-

(1) If anyone is a good judge of OT talent it is our OL coach Tony Sparano. We are lucky to have him, and I’m sure Reggie has his ear….if he hasn’t get it!!

(2) The looming OL talent pool is also fairly deep this year. Not only are Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson excellent draft prospects, that our number five draft spot leave pen to us, but the potential FA market is also fairly strong this year….thus, due to simply market forces, cheap. Notable looming FA OT’s this year include Brandon Albert, Jordan Gross, Michael Oher, Eugene Monroe, Anthony Collins and even (at a false-start stretch) our own Khalif Barnes. I don’t think the Chiefs can afford to franchise tag Brandon Albert for a second consecutive year, and lets be honest Barnes is a much more complete player than Veldheer. Plus all the usual concerns over Albert’s health cannot simply be ignored for Veldheer, who missed most of 2013 due to a badly timed injury. On Jordan Gross, I know he has stated that he only wants to return to the Panthers, but lets be honest Veldheer has said similar about us, which I like but doubt such talk is little more than spin.

I love Jared Veldheer and I imagine he will be tagged, but I think the most sensible strategy for all concerned would be for him (but mainly his agent) to lower their unrealistic demands and accept a top-15 type talent deal and stop looking for what he isn’t (but hopefully will become), and that is a top-5 deal.


Lets not give up on Pryor

I’ve read a lot of stuff about Terrelle Pryor isn’t the QB of the future for the Raiders, about how the coaching staff wont back him and he doesn’t have the pocket presence to succeed….and even that he should convert to another position, possibly TE. I have to say, however, that such negativity on Pryor is more than a little premature. Yes he looked imature at times, and true he has far from mastered the art of QB, but don’t give up on the kid. Pryor showed me three key assets that have me believing he CAN be the QB of the Future for the Raiders.

1. He’s got a great work ethic. True he occasionally showed signs of petulance….not talking to the media after a loss being a key move. Plus hanging on to his agent, more than 5 minutes after his agent’s stupid comments ( ) proved a bad PR move….but Pryor shows some real grit, a determination to succeed and an ability to see his own shortcomings. Such a will-to-succeed needs to be kept on the roster, even if we decide to put him lower down the depth chart, as he continues to learn the position. Indeed, it is Pryor’s personaility that I feel had the defence keeping games so close, as when McGloin steped in there we sure shipped a lot more points.

2. His ability to avoid the pass-rush. Not many QB’s have Terrelle’s legs, and as a developing team I think this is an asset we should back, not run away from. We all saw how Matt Flynn flaked behind our line, why not improve the OL around Pryor.

3.his improving action. Look at the old clips of Terrelle (see below), his spirals were pretty much non-existant. Now he can throw a lovely ball – yes he still has a LOT of work to do, but he’s prepared to do it, lets back the kid and see him improve some more.

If I was incharge of the Raiders I’d sign Pryor up to a long-term deal, and let him develop some more. In 2 years time, so come the playoffs of 2015, I confidently predict Pryor will be leading a team….I just hope its us.

Terrelle @ Ohio


….that boy can run
(I might be inclined to have Terrelle returning kicks too ­čÖé )