ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders general Reggie McKenzie has said he wants to retain left tackle Jared Veldheer. And Veldheer has said time and again he wants to return to the Raiders after coming back from left triceps surgery in training camp to play in the final five games last season.
So what's the hold-up? Veldheer himself is wondering.
“I'm staying patient but at the same time a little bit of urgency from the other side would be nice,” Veldheer told ESPN affiliate 95.7 The Game on Monday afternoon. “I'm doing my best here, staying patient, staying optimistic and everything should take care of itself here in the end.”
The 6-feet-8, 322-pound Veldheer, the Raiders' third-round draft pick in 2010, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11. But with the window for teams to use the Franchise Tag opening Feb. 17 and going through March 3, Veldheer is afraid Oakland may slap him with it.
“I'm hoping that some kind of deal happens here soon,” he said. “I've expressed many times that I want to stay here; I really love the team. I love the teammates, the coaches. I really feel like this is the place for me and it would be good to kind of have some urgency in this and move this along so it doesn't creep up to that date where maybe something has to happen that's not in the long term.”
Meaning he would rather not be tagged, even if the estimated franchise tag number for an offensive linemen is $11.126 million, up from the $9.828 million of 2013.
Sure, it's a big payday, but long-term security means more, Veldheer said.
“From that (payday) aspect of it it's definitely an awesome deal,” he said. “It would just be nice to have more security in being a Raider for longer than just one year. This is a place that I want to be at for the rest of my career if I could. It's tough when that kind of stuff happens because … (a one-year tag) goes against everything that's been said about, ‘We want to make you a cornerstone of the team, build around you.' It doesn't really back up any words with the right action.
“There's not enough urgency (in contract talks), to put it in a football term.”
For what it's worth, McKenzie, who will have some $60 million in salary cap space, has also said he would prefer to avoid using the tag on a player.