The period for the Franchise Tag has come and gone for the Raiders and Reggie McKenzie and company declined to use the franchise tag, again, this year.
There were some who thought that the Raiders would franchise tag either LT Jared Veldheer or DE Lamarr Houston, but the cost associated with both of these moves was somewhat prohibitive and doesn’t fit with McKenzie’s stated goals of finding talent and then locking up that talent in longer-term contracts.
The Raiders are not in a position that the services of these two players will make or break the team for 2014 and if they cannot sign either player now, with more salary cap space than any other NFL team, it’s no guarantee they would be able to sign either next year, either.
With this in mind, it’s best to sign either or both to a reasonable long-term contract or to let either or both walk – at least the team won’t overpay for talent. Overpaying for talent was a hallmark of the team under Al Davis and it never worked out the way Mr. Davis hoped – frequently, he had to massage contracts in the offseason and pay much more guaranteed money than other teams because of the teams’ poor contract situation.
The team can still exclusively negotiate with the agents of Veldheer and Houston until March 8th and can continue to try to sign the pair after that and even after free agency starts, if they are interested in returning.
Open Free agency starts a week from today on March 11th.