The Cardinals signed left tackle Jared Veldheer to a five-year, $35 million contract at the start of free agency, but that wasn’t what they expected to do at the start of the offseason.
Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic that the Cardinals didn’t think Veldheer would be available because they thought the Raiders would put the franchise tag on him. Goodwin said that when General Manager Steve Keim told him they would have a shot at acquiring Veldheer, they were, “Shocked. Shocked.”
The Cardinals view Veldheer, who previously played with quarterback Carson Palmer in Oakland, as a difference-maker to their offense.
“He’s tough. His size. He’s a guy you watch on film, he very seldom gets beat,” Goodwin said. “Every tackle at some point is going to get beat, but the thing you like about him is the next time, he’s going to try to beat that guy to a pulp. He’s not going to let that happen again. I think the comfort level between him and Carson (Palmer), having played together, is going to be huge. I also think he’ll bring a leadership role to the room. He’s a guy who is no nonsense and not afraid to get a little physical in practice or on the field. Don’t get me wrong, Bradley [Sowell] did a great job. He’s still a young guy. It was really his first year. Bradley is going to get better. I think Carson is a little bit more comfortable, and I think us as an organization are more comfortable having Veldheer.”
If Veldheer is as good as the Cardinals think he is, Arizona fans should be thankful to the Raiders, for allowing a franchise left tackle to walk away.