Oakland Raiders Add Pressure During Free Agency by Not Tagging Houston, Veldheer

The Oakland Raiders are less than a week away from two of their best players becoming unrestricted free agents. Defensive end Lamarr Houston and left tackle Jared Veldheer will both be able to start talking with other teams in just a few days, which could lead to their departures from the team.

Although the Raiders still have an exclusive window to negotiate with Veldheer and Houston until March 8, the odds that one or both of them could be on their way out of town increased when the team decided not to use the franchise or transition tag on either of them.

The Raiders only add to their long list of needs at two key positions if Houston and Veldheer both hit the open market.

While not tagging either player may be the fiscally responsible thing to do, it also adds considerable pressure on general manager Reggie McKenzie during free agency. The Raiders will have an even higher volume of needs, and priorities may have to shift away from improving in other areas to find a left tackle and defensive end.

Unlike a winning team, the Raiders have to do a lot more work convincing free agents to sign in Oakland. Shifting priorities could have an impact on the team’s ability to sign certain players.

If it comes down to using a league-high $65.1 million in salary-cap space, per overthecap.com, to do the convincing, it negates the purpose of not overspending on Houston or Veldheer in the first place.


Left Tackle Options

After not giving a tag to Veldheer, it would be easy to leap to conclusions about how the Raiders value him. Although some of these assumptions are natural, it would be a mistake to assume that the Raiders don’t value him at all.

According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, via overthecap.com, the franchise tag for an offensive lineman is $11.7 million and the transition tag is $10 million. That’s an awful lot for...

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