The Oakland Raiders didn't utilize the franchise tag, or even the transition tag, on either left tackle Jared Veldheer or defensive end Lamarr Houston, which should not be seen as a shortcoming by general manager Reggie McKenzie … though it is easy to see why fans might be frustrated by the Raiders not locking up either player. Especially since they have some $65 million in cap space with which to play.
But remember: McKenzie said he did not want to use the franchise tag -- which is $13.1 million for defensive ends, $11.7 million -- and would rather work out long-term deals with the free agents he wants to retain. And yes, McKenzie said he wants to keep both players.
Plus, Veldheer said he does not want to be tagged anyway.
Free agency does not begin until March 11, so McKenzie still has time to work out deals with either one or both before they hit the open market.