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McKenzie: Veldheer didn’t want to be a Raider anymore

Oakland Raiders v New York Jets Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders elected not to place the franchise tag on left tackle Jared Veldheer this offseason. That decision ultimately led to Veldheer leaving in free agency and signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

It left the Raiders in search of a new left tackle on the free agent market. After a failed attempt to sign Rodger Saffold due to a failed physical, the Raiders signed Donald Penn to take over in protecting quarterback Matt Schaub’s blind side.

However, McKenzie doesn’t view the failed signing of Saffold as a setback. It was Veldheer bolting the Bay Area that sticks with him.

“No, “McKenzie said of Saffold, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It really wasn’t a setback. … The setback was the one that got away from us.

“Losing Veldheer was a blow to me. He didn’t want to come back. It wasn’t about finances. The kid didn’t want to play for the Raiders anymore, and I struggled with that.”

McKenzie is right about the finances. The Raiders had plenty of cap room to open the offseason and have spent liberally on the offensive line with the additions of Penn and Austin Howard to their front. The Raiders still could have slapped the franchise tag to keep Veldheer around, regardless of whether he wanted to play for Oakland or not.

McKenzie said the same applied to defensive end Lamarr Houston.

“In the end, it’s the player’s decision,” McKenzie said.

Penn is expected to fill the hole at left tackle with Menelik Watson at right tackle. Howard is expected to move inside to guard.

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73 Responses to “McKenzie: Veldheer didn’t want to be a Raider anymore”
  1. Raider Jon says: Mar 25, 2014 11:17 PM

    yeah, I’m bummed they did not want to come back. But they did the honorable thing and played out their contracts. Good luck them both.

  2. humb0lt says: Mar 25, 2014 11:25 PM

    Can’t blame Veldheer for wanting to go to a real NFL team.

  3. mrcosio says: Mar 25, 2014 11:26 PM

    - Menlik Watson shouldn’t be pencilled in anywhere as a starter, why do you think they signed two tackles?

    - lol @ Huston being a LB

  4. biznessdecision says: Mar 25, 2014 11:29 PM

    This is a problem that winning franchises don’t have. I really hope the Raiders can turn things around so the talented young players aren’t just counting the days until they can escape.

  5. peytonmanningsforehead says: Mar 25, 2014 11:31 PM

    He wouldn’t have been worth the money it would have cost if he was franchised. Mediocre at best. He should fit right in with the Cardinals.

  6. bears0492 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:32 PM

    Lamarr Houston is a linebacker now? That’s one hell of a linebacker at 6’5″, 300 lbs. He’s a pass rusher, and a DE, not a linebacker.

  7. sportswright says: Mar 25, 2014 11:33 PM

    At least that is some explanation for letting arguably their best player walk in free agency with tons of cap room available.

  8. mullman76 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:38 PM

    If it’s true, Reggie did the right thing.

    No need tagging someone who wants to leave.

    Now it’s wait and see.

    Go Raiders

  9. aldog83 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:42 PM

    If Veldheer wanted out.

    Then there is no reason to force him to stay in Oakland.

    There very few loyalties in sports.

    The Romance of being a career player for a franchise does not exist anymore.

    (Free Agency does that. And its cool. The rules allow for him to leave and he left for a better facility, maybe a better chance to win…maybe he like golf…whatever)

    it’s like a girlfriend or wife….

    do you want her around if she does not want to be with you or give a crap about what you want to do?

    It sucks but better to have people around you that will help you succeed.

    See Ya Veldheer, Houston, Jennings, Jenkings and Porter. after back to back 4-12 seasons.

    It could’nt hurt to play the field and meet a few new partners.

    Thanks to the guys who joining the RAIDER family and let’s crack some skulls!!!!!

    GO RAIDERS!!!!

  10. youplayinfoosball says: Mar 25, 2014 11:43 PM

    Can’t blame the guy for wanting to leave Oakland.

  11. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 25, 2014 11:43 PM

    So what did Reggie say to convince him to stay? Maybe he just didn’t have a vision that could sell him on staying.

    If he would have said:

    “hey look, I’m not messing around here I have very specific transformative plans to radically change into……, something that is phenomenal that will make us into the most dominant franchise in the league and nobody else can do this because here is how it works and why you should get excited….”,

    then he could have sold him. But we don’t know what he said, maybe he would have stayed, but maybe he didn’t stay because Reggie didn’t have the plan or the vision to entice him.

  12. wenhawk says: Mar 25, 2014 11:46 PM

    Not surprised, who would want to play for Oakland. Their only hope for success is to draft Johnny Football.

  13. bearwithjetpack says: Mar 25, 2014 11:48 PM

    The goal of everyone that has ever entered the city of Oakland.

    To get out of Oakland.

  14. lostsok says: Mar 25, 2014 11:49 PM

    Penn will not fill part of left tackle. He will fill the whole.

  15. seven2k says: Mar 25, 2014 11:49 PM

    If they don’t want to play they will only be playing for the money and not care if they win or lose. Let them go and be happy

  16. snakesmileyface says: Mar 25, 2014 11:54 PM

    Veldheer went to a very conservative small college in Michigan and comes from a very conservative family. His family was heavily involved in Veldheer’s negotiations with the Raiders. I honestly think that they were uncomfortable about the Bay Area and preferred a place more in line with their convictions. It’s not like Arizona threw he checkbook at him.

  17. tecmobowl34 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:54 PM

    Imagine that, pro football players want to win. The “you took the money crowd” will be all over this one.

    You wouldn’t take the money, huh? Right

  18. azraider75 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:55 PM

    I wonder where the truth is regarding Jared ? Reggie is saying Jared didn’t want to be a Raider but everything I heard from him over the last year was that he wanted to be there. Is Reggie’s spin that since Jared didn’t accept the Raider offer he didn’t want to be a Raider ? It makes it tough when it appears you didn’t try hard to sign one of your best young players.

  19. youboettcha says: Mar 25, 2014 11:56 PM

    Who is McKenzie?

  20. grimreaper12 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:56 PM

    Veldheer wanted to be a Patriot, but he isn’t good enough.

  21. boknowsvt says: Mar 26, 2014 12:00 AM

    Yes, he could have slapped the Franchise Tag on him. What would that do? Other than pay a guy a huge amount of money for what would essentially be a one year rental. The guy’s gone. Can we move on already?

  22. 1bigtex says: Mar 26, 2014 12:01 AM

    This sounds nothing what so ever like “sour grapes” now, does it.

  23. flyeaglesfly79 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:02 AM

    Not a great endorsement, when tenured Raiders players turn down generous contracts in order to find a better team. It says something about the organization’s commitment to winning, or maybe the organizational culture or locker room culture.

    If I were Reggie McKenzie, I wouldn’t share that information with the media either. It could make the team look unattractive to potential free agents.

  24. thestratagicexpert says: Mar 26, 2014 12:06 AM

    If I were the gm I would have franchised him regardless of his feelings, that way he couldn’t have gone to Arizona. The franchise tag is designed so a team can keep their star players instead of losing them to free agency.

  25. paulnoga says: Mar 26, 2014 12:09 AM

    Davis should sell the team ASAP. he has no knowledge or desire to rebuild a team.

  26. mcjon22 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:10 AM

    Dude, you had 60+ million in cap space. Keep throwing money at him until he ‘wants to be’ a Raider again.

  27. huthuthut says: Mar 26, 2014 12:16 AM

    Disappointing for Raiders fans. Team needs to change the culture so that good players can see staying.

  28. smcgaels1997 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:18 AM

    Do ya blame him ?

  29. bigblu73 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:31 AM

    Atleast McKenzie knows that it usually doesn’t benefit either party to keep a player that doesn’t want to be kept!!!

  30. flacconation says: Mar 26, 2014 12:33 AM

    What an indictment of a franchise.

  31. ChrisLance.net says: Mar 26, 2014 12:52 AM

    Jared Veldheer won’t be getting a warm welcome when he comes back to play the Raiders.

  32. pilonflats says: Mar 26, 2014 12:54 AM

    it would be really nice to have a plus offensive line this year instead of a rotating turnstile of good players that are injured and those that are best suited for a reserve role.

  33. silverandblack052099 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:00 AM

    Reggie let Veldheer get away but he can make it up to us by making a trade for DeSean Jackson.

  34. wtfkwp says: Mar 26, 2014 1:04 AM

    Well boo-effing-hoo! I thought the NFL was drafting adults.

  35. sfm073 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:04 AM

    Can you really blame any player for not wanting to play in Oakland? He got similar money to play for a team that is on the rise.

  36. raidrz27 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:09 AM

    And this matters now why? What’s done is done. Move on.

  37. nelly837 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:12 AM

    Geez can you blame him?

  38. raiders4ever says: Mar 26, 2014 1:22 AM

    him not wanting to play for the Raiders would of made me slap the franshise tag on him even more…every other team does it when they want to keep a player bad enough so i dont buy it..but still its been nice come back in FA after a bad start..Raider Nation”

  39. radrntn says: Mar 26, 2014 1:24 AM

    well we all know there are three sides to the story.

    Go Raiders….Go Reggie…..bye bye veldheer…best of luck in az.

  40. tooz72 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:39 AM

    he’s gone, wish him well..but you can’t worry about players that aren’t with them anymore

  41. mutantman87 says: Mar 26, 2014 2:00 AM

    Shocking.

  42. coachglove says: Mar 26, 2014 2:04 AM

    Why would you slap a franchise tag on someone that doesn’t want to be part of your organization? Why would you even write that? To write it suggest anyone in his right mind views that as an actual option. If a guy doesn’t wanna be part of your team, you let them walk. You don’t wanna put the chemistry of the team in jeopardy and you certainly don’t want a guy who isn’t giving it his all..in exchange for a REALLY high salary (that Veldeheer wasn’t worth given his performance).

    Stop looking for ways to make McKenzie look bad. That isn’t journalism. That is being a fan of another team. Just like any other relationship on the planet…especially in an employment one…when one party doesn’t want to work with the other you move on. You don’t try and force them to continue to perform for you.

  43. coachglove says: Mar 26, 2014 2:05 AM

    *suggests

  44. robsaia says: Mar 26, 2014 2:16 AM

    Who is lying? Veldheer says he wanted to be a Raider for life, and was anxious to get a better offer than what the Raiders offered ($30m with $10m guaranteed). On the other hand, McKenzie had to go out and pay more money (Safford, Austin) for lesser talent, indicating that they would have liked to keep Veldheer. Sounds like both parties did not communicate properly, then read about it in the press and got their felling hurt. Wow, such professionalism. Reggie will last two more years top.

  45. bearclaw69 says: Mar 26, 2014 3:04 AM

    No Reggie, it is NOT the player’s decision. It is the team’s decision whether or not to slap the franchise tag on someone, and whether a player likes that or not is totally irrelevant.

    Coincidentally, is there ANYONE that really wants to play for the Raiders anymore? (Hearing crickets)

  46. 4ever85 (aka Butch DeadLift) says: Mar 26, 2014 3:15 AM

    Smart men, both Valdheer and Houston.

    What does that say about how the Raider players view their GM, Coaches and Owner?

    Raiders will bolt to L.A. anyways, sooner or later.

  47. mythaimyke says: Mar 26, 2014 3:51 AM

    Too bad for Veldheer, he didn’t want to play for the Best team in football! Now he can play for a team that will never win a Super Bowl!! It’s his Loss!!! GO R-A-1-D-E-R-S

  48. 1captain1 says: Mar 26, 2014 4:32 AM

    I guess that’s the difference between a DRAFT and an ALL VOLUNTEER squad.

  49. goraidersgospurs says: Mar 26, 2014 4:53 AM

    I doubt Matt wanted to be here either other wise the team could have waited for his release and got him for cheaper. But oh well Whats done is done!!!

  50. araidersfan says: Mar 26, 2014 5:08 AM

    I’ve also heard that somehow the Raiders offended Veldheer’s family (mother/brother) so there was no chance of bringing him back.

    On the other hand, Steve Corkran has said that McKenzie didn’t want Veldheer back because of his connection to the previous regime.

    With all the spin, I honestly don’t believe that the REAL story has come out.

  51. joetoronto says: Mar 26, 2014 5:26 AM

    But Veldheer was fine with going to the desert and playing for the Cardinals.

    Maybe he’s not so smart after all.

  52. meatcarroll says: Mar 26, 2014 6:22 AM

    What a dismal state of affairs for one of the most historic franchises in the NFL. Al Davis is rolling in his grave. I’m not a Raiders fan by any means, but growing up nearby, I watched a lot of Raiders games and every single one featured football players clearly honored to be donning the badass Silver and Black and all that it represented, and ferociously defending it with their all-out play.

  53. randyschwimmer7 says: Mar 26, 2014 6:52 AM

    Can you honestly blame him?

  54. dapollock69 says: Mar 26, 2014 7:01 AM

    Still a so-so GM at best, but the explanation made sense. I guess he could have played hardball with him, perhaps a sign and trade if he got lucky, but these moves seem to be beyond his capacity. Then again, we don’t know if the player was amenable to any other solutions other than to get out of dodge.

  55. rhemish says: Mar 26, 2014 7:11 AM

    Bs Reggie you low balled both of these guys .How can you blame them for taking more money with more guaranteed money from their new teams .they both said numerous times they wanted to be in Oakland .Vehlder shared contract offers from both Arizona and oak the raider offer was a joke for a starting LT . You piss me off Reggie nice draft pick berg storm criner Watson reach for a second round pick with Hayden trade a fifth for Flynn draft Tyler Wilson with a 4 th rounder and cut him .Look in the mirror your record stinks why everybody gives you a three year pass I don’t know….

  56. God Waves His Terrible Towel™ says: Mar 26, 2014 7:12 AM

    No one blames him.

  57. 1heatedtoombrayduh says: Mar 26, 2014 7:12 AM

    Reggie got so much crap in the beginning, but you cant make a player stay if he wants out..he wasnt going to overpay so veldheer had to go.

  58. rhemish says: Mar 26, 2014 7:13 AM

    Jon Gruden please please ………………

  59. realnflmaster says: Mar 26, 2014 8:02 AM

    Don’t believe that for a second, you just didn’t want to pay him. Yet, thought Saffold was worth 2 million dollars a year more than the best offensive tackles on the market.

  60. dasmol says: Mar 26, 2014 8:07 AM

    Smart kid

  61. anonymous135 says: Mar 26, 2014 8:16 AM

    So why not offer transition tender them – get trade value from them… or are the compensatory picks you get the next year worth that much more than what you’ get otherwise?

    Could have tendered them 1st round or 2nd round I believe?

  62. raiderrob21 says: Mar 26, 2014 8:19 AM

    Classy way of saying Houston and Veldheer didnt want to be Raiders at the price the Raiders wanted them back as Raiders. No problem big reg, keep up the great work

    RAIDER NATION!!!!

  63. doe22us says: Mar 26, 2014 8:27 AM

    I guess dude was tired of loosing and wanted to taste the nectar of wins with the Cardinals.

  64. colv says: Mar 26, 2014 8:33 AM

    Makes sense now. You can understand the players point of view too. Raiders are not the same as they were decades ago, dominate. They talk about moving again, what a shame for the diehard fans to endure again. Just the threat is shameful from the owner. But, you got to see his side too, Davis is not a billionaire I’m sure, multimillionaires can’t afford to pay for his new palace alone. So public financing is important. He should get private backers too along with some tax money. Problem there is Oakland and California are broke.

  65. dolphinfan17 says: Mar 26, 2014 8:40 AM

    Probs just wanted to go to franchise that doesnt need rebuilding and can win now

  66. mackie66 says: Mar 26, 2014 8:44 AM

    Yo, CB, when a player no longer wants to play for you,,,don’t apply the franchise tag.

  67. kev86 says: Mar 26, 2014 8:51 AM

    Blessing in disguise for OAK

  68. cjas9298 says: Mar 26, 2014 10:14 AM

    If you use the franchise or transition tag, the “kid” would have had no choice. As you had $65M of cap space, Veldheer not being a Raider is completely on McKenzie.

  69. MostlyRight says: Mar 26, 2014 10:57 AM

    Arizona has become a franchise players want to play for. The whole NFC West is respectable.

  70. ajgreenhof says: Mar 26, 2014 11:00 AM

    Can’t blame him.

  71. madroaddog says: Mar 26, 2014 11:03 AM

    Even though the biggest obstacle to winning for the Raiders since their last Superbowl appearance has been the very bad O Line, their biggest obstacle to surviving is now their very bad stadium venue.

  72. oakmeals85 says: Mar 26, 2014 11:05 AM

    No need in worring about players that aren’t with us anymore, lets worry about the ones that do wanna be a Raider and lets get back to adding pieces that’ll make our team better. Anything else is a waste of energy,time and space.

  73. madroaddog says: Mar 26, 2014 11:12 AM

    Mark Davis will let the 2014 season play out but Reggie cost him and DA their jobs when he let their three best young players escape. Mark Davis will not let him overpay and that is the only way Reggie can keep good players around with the worst stadium in the NFL. Whats more Reggie has proven he is not smart enough to draft himself out of the hole he has dug.

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